TACOMA, Wash. – Who would plunge into the rainforest of Borneo to question who has more rights—the endangered orangutan or the impoverished natives of Sarawak? Who would step up to suggest that traditional Tanzanian dance has the same therapeutic effect as contemporary Western art therapy?
It takes a special kind of young person—the kind that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship selection committee looks for when it awards $28,000 scholarships and around-the-world trips to its chosen Watson Fellows. This year two University of Puget Sound graduating students have been granted that honor. They are part of a group of just 43 Watson Fellows chosen for 2014–15 from more than 700 student candidates worldwide.
Haley Andres ’14, a double major in painting and psychology from Princeton, N.J., and Kelsey Crutchfield-Peters ’14, a biology major and conservation worker from Seattle, Wash., will each head off this summer for yearlong excursions around the globe to find the answers to questions they deeply care about.
Puget Sound is the only Pacific Northwest university to see its students honored with the prestigious award this year. This year’s 43 Watson Fellows come from 21 states and six nations. They will traverse 81 countries exploring topics including global hacking, poetry, butterfly ranching, body part commodification, climate change, and community radio.
Beginning this summer the two Watson Scholars, traveling alone, will each live for several months in four countries, following comprehensive research plans that they designed. They will shadow and interview researchers, government officials, professionals, and local inhabitants, and, following the tough Watson rules, will not be allowed to step back on American soil for 365 days.
Haley Andres, 22, will travel to Australia, Japan, Bolivia, and Tanzania, pursuing a topic she has titled “Art, Trauma, and Creative Healing: Understanding Art Therapy in a Diversifying World.”
She will be investigating whether it is possible to help victims of trauma—suffering from anything from child abuse to a natural disaster—by fusing the individual-oriented clinical methods used by Western art therapists and the community-oriented methods used by developing nation healers, such as traditional dancing, theater, and drumming.
“Art is a form of expression that transcends all individual and cultural differences,” Andres wrote in her proposal. “If one way of dealing with complicated, devastating, and life-altering experiences can be playing the piano, painting, or dancing, there needs to be more effort to make sure that every individual who has experienced trauma has access to art.”
In Melbourne, Australia, Andres will work with the Dax Centre, a gallery housing 15,000 creative pieces by victims of trauma or mental illness. In Tokyo, Japan, she will shadow a doctor using art therapy to support victims of the 2011 tsunami. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, she will visit a theater and circus therapy organization that helps impoverished children, many of whom are victims of physical abuse. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, she will create her own community program for addressing trauma that will be influenced by African art forms ranging from painting to dance.
Andres is a University of Puget Sound President’s Scholar, a student representative on the Faculty Senate, and was inducted to the national Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She was assisted in her project by Associate Professor of Art Elise Richman and Professor of Psychology Sarah Moore. Associate Professor of History Katherine Smith was her fellowship faculty advisor.
Crutchfield-Peters, 22, will travel to Chile, Madagascar, Borneo, and New Zealand in a quest she has titled “It Takes a Village: Placing Biodiversity Conservation in the Context of Native and Indigenous Communities.” Her idea for the project arose after she learned about “conservation refugees”—local people who were forced to leave their homes in threatened ecosystems.
“Men that I had seen as heroes—like John Muir and Ansel Adams—were brought down from their thrones,” she wrote in her proposal. “I began to question my role in conservation. What team am I fighting for: humans, ecosystems, or both?”
Crutchfield-Peters hopes to learn how locals and conservationists could cooperate to achieve the goals of both. In the Juan Fernandez Islands of Chile, she will work with park rangers, scientists, and fishermen who take a cooperative approach. In Madagascar, where villagers fight efforts to protect the lemurs they hunt for food, she will shadow scientists. In Borneo she will study conservation of the proboscis monkey, bearded pigs, and orangutans. On Rakiura Island, New Zealand, she will interview Maori land stewards, who oversee traditional harvesting of threatened Sooty Shearwater chicks.
Crutchfield-Peters presented research at the 2013 Geological Society of America Conference and spoke at the 2013 Murdock Undergraduate Research Conference. Her research advisors were Assistant Professor of Geology Kena Fox-Dobbs and Professor of Biology Betsy Kirkpatrick. Her topic was inspired by a class with Assistant Professor of Biology Peter Hodum.
University of Puget Sound has had 26 Watson Fellows since it began its affiliation with the foundation in 1993. Puget Sound students regularly earn top national scholarships, including Fulbright, Watson, Goldwater, Luce, and Phi Kappa Phi awards.
The Fellowships Office, directed by Sharon Chambers-Gordon, coordinates the Watson applications, handling recruiting, mentoring, and mock interviews. The Graduate Fellowships Advisory Committee, chaired by Associate Professor of Religion Greta Austin, reads all applications, conducts campus interviews, and selects nominees. The committee members also include Associate Dean Martin Jackson, in mathematics; Monica DeHart, in sociology; Katherine Smith, in history; Amy Spivey, in physics; Seth Weinberger in politics and government; and Sharon Chambers-Gordon.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program was established by the family of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their longstanding interest in education and world affairs. Fellows have gone on to become college presidents, chief executives, MacArthur “genius” grant recipients, politicians, artists, diplomats, journalists, and researchers.
For a full list of 2014-15 Watson Fellows visit: www.watsonfellowship.