The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Watson (Thomas J Watson) Fellowship

Apply through Reed Fellowships and Awards Committee

Internal Deadline: September 22, 2017
Liaison: Josh Howe, Kate Duffly

» Scholarship's official website
» List of previous winners
» Get started - request an internal application!


The mission of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program is to offer college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States.  Fellows enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and foster their humane and effective participation in the world community. The stipend for the fellowship year is $30,000. Watson Fellows must create, execute, and evaluate their own projects.  The Watson Fellowship is intended to be a time when fellows are their own advisors. The fellow should decide how questions can be answered, when it is time to move on, if a project must be adjusted in any way, etc. It is for this reason that Watson Fellows do not affiliate themselves with an academic institution, do not spend 12 months exclusively in a training course, and do not have volunteer work as their primary activity.

Watson fellows should seek out new experiences in new places. Proposals may not include return to a country where the applicant has spent time unless the return involves working in a region of a country that is linguistically and culturally different from the area of previous study. If the applicant previously had been to China, work in Hong Kong, for example, might be considered -- or work in Tibet. Ultimately, the Foundation's decision would be based on how the proposal frames the need to work in such areas.

Fellows must begin their year no later than August 1 and return in time to attend the Returning Fellows Conference - generally the following August.


Applicants must be graduating seniors. There is no minimum GPA. Any age or nationality is eligible.  Applicants must be nominated by the college in order to be eligible to apply for the program.

Selection Criteria

The Watson Foundation reads and evaluates each application, looking for the following qualities:
  • Leadership
  • Imagination
  • Independence
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility

Application Procedure

Interested students should use this form to request an internal application. The internal application consists of a completed cover sheet, personal statement (maximum 500 words), description of project proposal (maximum 500 words), and two reference letters, at least one of which is from a Reed faculty or staff member.  The Fellowships and Awards Committee with interview the strongest applicants and will select up to four to participate in the national competition.  Those four finalists will participate in one-hour interviews with a representative of the Watson Foundation.  Fellows are announced in mid-March.  Contact Michelle Johnson with any questions.

Express Advising and Drop-In Hours 

Express Advising w/ Peer Career Advisers

Spring Semester Hours

Mon, 2pm-4pm, Prexy
Tues, 12pm-2pm, Prexy
Wed, 6pm-8pm, LIB 203
Thurs, 3pm-5pm, Prexy
Fri, 2pm-4pm, Prexy 
Sun, 6pm-8pm, PAB 130

Drop-In Hours w/ CLBR Staff

Fellowships Q&A in Commons: Tuesdays, 11:45am-1:15pm

Grad School, Career, and Internship Q&A in MRC: Wednesdays, 11:30am-1:30pm

Career & Internship Q&A in Commons: Thursdays, 11:30am-1:30pm

Grad School, Career, and Internship Q&A in Commons: Fridays, 11:30am-1:30pm

Note: Please check the announcements on your homepage in Griffin Door for any possible updates or cancellations.

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Fellowships & Awards

Hours: M-F, 8:30am-5pm
Location: Prexy 

Winner Profiles

Picture of Caitlin Shrigley '05
Caitlin Shrigley '05
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Picture of Cole Perkinson '13
Cole Perkinson '13
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Picture of Dawn Teele '06
Dawn Teele '06
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Picture of Lukas Strickland '08
Lukas Strickland '08
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Picture of Rennie Meyers '15
Rennie Meyers '15
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Picture of Sasha Peters '15
Sasha Peters '15
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» All previous winners