Four Sewanee seniors nominated for Watson Fellowships

jonathan brenes salazar

With proposals to explore a range of topics from sustainable ecotourism to the role of storytelling in feminine identity, four Sewanee seniors have received nominations for a prestigious year-long Watson Fellowship during 2013-14. Offered by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Watson Fellowships offer college graduates a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. This year’s nominees from Sewanee are Jonathan Brenes Salazar, DeAndré Espree-Conaway, Michael Grantz, and Hanna Miller.

A Watson Foundation representative will be on campus early next semester to interview the nominees. The recipients of the fellowships, who will receive stipends of about $25,000 each, will be announced in March.

An environmental studies: policy major, Jonathan Brenes Salazar (right) grew up in an ecotourist region of Costa Rica and hopes to explore the role of ecotourism in sustainable development in places as diverse as Norway, Greece, China, India, Gabon and Ecuador. Interviews and documentary photography would provide real-life lessons on the adequate scale and practice of tourist activity and tools that best promote sustainable development.

DeAndré Espree-Conaway’s (left) Watson proposal would lead him to observe the role that language documentation plays in the world’s indigenous cultures and societies. French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Indonesia (West Papua), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Solomon Islands, Bangladesh, and Australia would provide different contexts within which to understand language documentation’s place in minority language speakers’ social and cultural lives. Espree-Conaway is a French and anthropology double major from Houston.



Michael Grantz (right), an environmental studies: policy major from Fisherville, Ky., proposes an exploration of politically-motivated squatting communities in Greece, Spain, France, and England. This would include living in legalized squats as well as encounters with other residential and non-residential squats.







Hanna Miller (left) hopes to conduct oral history interviews with storytellers, grandmothers, and granddaughters in Wales, India, Slovenia, Denmark, England and Spain. Their life stories and folktales will give insight into their personal aspirations and cultural expectations, as well as into whether gender, storytelling, and folktales may combine to make womanhood a shared experience worldwide. Miller is an American studies and Russian double major from Collins, Miss.

Established in 1968, the Watson Fellowships offers college graduates of unusual promise the opportunity to “enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.” Sewanee graduates have received 42 of the fellowships, including two last year.

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