Senior fellowship recipient: Zach Duffy

Talia Rudee

Fellowships can meet anyone’s interests, ranging from environmental policy, human rights, leadership, service and countless others, including a fellowship for those who want to travel the world and study a topic of their choosing.

Credit: Catie Bergman

Whitman students have seen remarkable success in their fellowship and grant pursuits in recent years, and 2012 is no exception. Director of Fellowships and Grants Keith Raether has guided many students down the time-intensive road of fellowship applications, and a large number emerged successful at the end of the long process.

Raether, along with his assistant, Donna Jones, works closely with Whitman students each year during the entire application for a fellowship, scholarship or grant.

“It’s a very busy process for us,” said Raether

In recent years, Raether has seen an increase in Whitman’s applicants and recipients of many nationally acclaimed and extremely competitive fellowships and grants.

“Students want a year in the world with all this complexity and beauty and imperfection to experience,” said Raether.

In particular, Whitman has regularly produced at least one Watson fellow each year. The Watson Fellowship is one of the most competitive fellowships, with 40 total recipients in the entire country out of approximately 725 applicants initially. The fellowship is a one-year grant for an independent study outside of the country, offered to only 40 U.S. institutions and nominated college seniors. This year, Zach Duffy was the one student granted the Watson fellowship of the four students nominated at Whitman.

“The Watson is a fellowship that is about the fellow before it is about the project,” said Raether. “It is an opportunity for the fellow to learn about a personal obsession.

Duffy’s project is titled “Recovering A Lost Generation: How Nations Help Unemployed Youth Into the Workforce.” His independent travel and study will be in Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom over the course of one year.

Duffy’s interest for studying youth unemployment began by learning about his own family’s history. His grandfather never graduated from high school and worked as a suit salesman for the rest of his life. His dad came from a working-class family in Detroit, persevered through school and graduated from college, then worked up to gaining a job in the senate and was very successful.

“When I look at people from my own family, it means a lot to me.  To realize what it takes for people to have the American Dream,” said Duffy. 

The Watson resonated with Duffy due to his recent experiences in college as well.

“It’s a very personal project because it is relating to many issues that Whitman students (and all college students) are facing now,” he said. With the economy in its current state, a college degree may not guarantee employment for many people and these are issues of recent concern to Duffy’s friends and peers.

Duffy worked at the National Labor Union the summer after his sophomore year in college. The people around him demonstrated their own passion for the issue and were truly excited to work every day, inspiring Duffy to engage in further investigation of this pertinent issue.

The yearlong expedition for the Watson requires that the fellows be out of the country by Aug. 1. They cannot return to the United States the entire year. For the most part, Duffy plans to try out to find places to stay, since he must work his way through the world independently. According to the Watson Fellowship website, “Fellows must create, execute and evaluate their own projects . . . fellows are their own advisers.”

The largest challenge for Duffy will be conducting his research through interviews. He is going to many countries where he does not speak the native language and is hoping to find English-speaking people; otherwise he may have to communicate with hand gestures. Any way he does it, Duffy will gain the travel experience of a lifetime to learn about an issue very personal to him.

Although Duffy is the only recipient at Whitman, Sam Alden did qualify as a Watson alternate Fellow with his proposal, “Drawing from Life: Comics as a Personal Medium,” traveling to Japan, Belgium and Brazil, and the two other nominees were also very competitive candidates.

“I don’t feel like I’m more qualified than any of the other candidates,” said Duffy. “I wish they could all go.”


Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants: Academic Year 2011-12

Information as of 5.7.12

Major national awards
Watson Fellowship

  • Zach Duffy ’12 (“Recovering A Lost Generation: How Nations Help Unemployed Youth Into The Workforce,” independent travel and study in Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom)
  • Sam Alden ’12 (alternate, “Drawing from Life: Comics as a Personal Medium,” independent study and travel in Japan, Belgium, Brazil)


Fulbright U.S. Student Program

  • Patricia Vanderbilt ’12 (India, English teaching assistantship)
  • Alex Miller ’10 (Nepal, research)
  • Kayla Foster ’12 (Germany, English teaching assistantship)
  • Mackenzie Gerringer ’12 (Germany, English teaching assistantship)
  • Jessica Salvador ’07 (Turkey, English teaching assistantship)
  • Seth Bergeson ’10 (Bosnia-Herzgovina, English teaching assistantship) (national finalist, awaiting word)
  • Stefan Wheat ’12 (Panama, research) (national finalist, awaiting word)
  • Sara Rasmussen ’12 (alternate, Germany, English teaching assistantship)
  • Matt Hanson ’12 (alternate, New Zealand, research)
  • Cara Lowry ’12 (national finalist)
  • Alice Minor ’12 (national finalist)
  • Lindsay Olson ’12 (national finalist)


Beinecke Scholarship

  • Gabriella Friedman ’13


Goldwater Scholarship

  • Dieter Brandner ’13
  • Nathan Abrams ’13 (honorable mention)

Udall Scholarship

  • Hannah Siano ’13
  • Claire Meints ’14 (honorable mention)


Rhodes Scholarship

  • John-Henry Heckendorn ’12 (national finalist) 

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowship

  • Emily Davis ’08 (ecology, University of Washington)
  • Noah Bronstein ’08 (chemistry, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Kathleen Canfield Compton ’08 (geosciences, University of Arizona)
  • Jessica Fox Bruhn-Johannsen ’09 (honorable mention)
  • Kalani Halemano ’08 (honorable mention)
  • Brett Addis ’09 (honorable mention)
  • Sarah Jennings ’07 (honorable mention)
  • Katherine Lewis ’08 (honorable mention)
  • Ysbrand Nusse ’09 (honorable mention)
  • Julia Schroeder ’09 (honorable mention)


DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

  • Caitlin Hardee ’12 (InternXchange Program fellow and intern, International Center for Journalism, Freie Universität, Berlin)
  • Karah Kemmerly ’14 (Undergraduate Scholarship, Freiburg)
  • Kevin Dyer ’13 (Summer Study Grant, Berlin)


Luce Scholars Program

  • Samuel Clark ’07 (national finalist for 2012-13 award competition)


Lantos/HIA Congressional Fellowship

  • Seth Bergeson ’10 (appointment to office of U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott)


Ford Foundation Fellowship

  • Aaron Aguilar ’12 (honorable mention)


Princeton in Latin America Fellowship

  • Josh Meuth Alldredge ’11 (debate project manager for Red MG, a youth empowerment network in Peru; posting in Arequipa)

Princeton in Africa Fellowship

  • Thomas Launer ’12 (English teaching, Project Mercy, Yetebon, Ethiopia)


Princeton in Asia Fellowship

  • Hannah Joseph ’12 (English teaching assistantship, Nan, Thailand)
  • Mehera Nori ’12 (finalist, awaiting word)
  • Patricia Vanderbilt ’12 (finalist, withdrew to accept Fulbright award)
  • Cara Lowry ’12 (finalist, withdrew to accept French Teaching Assistants fellowship)
  • Lauren McCullough ’12 (finalist, withdrew to accept Whitman in China post)
  • Sara Rasmussen ’12 (finalist)
  • John Abercrombie ’12 (finalist)
  • Joanna French ’12 (finalist)


French Teaching Assistant Program (TAPIF)

  • Cara Lowry ’12 (English teaching assistantship, Toulouse)
  • Laura Euller ’12 (English teaching assistantship, Grenoble)
  • Margaret Wilson-Moses ’12 (English teaching assistantship, Guadeloupe)
  • Evelina Miropolsky ’12 (English teaching assistantship, Amiens)


Kroc Fellowship

  • Molly Smith ’11 (national finalist, awaiting word, public radio training program at NPR and member stations)


Emerson Hunger Fellowship

  • Seth Dawson ’12 (first alternate)
  • Hannah Johnson ’12 (national finalist)

Coro Fellows Program

  • Carissa Klarich ’05 (alternate)
  • Emma O’Rourke-Powell ’12 (alternate)
  • Lyndsey Wilson ’12 (national finalist, withdrew for other considerations)


Davis Projects for Peace

  • Jeremy Norden ’12 (“Building Community and Ultimate Peace,” Colombia)


Killam Fellowship (through Fulbright Canada)

  • Jay Barlow ’14 (independent study, University of Alberta)


Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF/NIST)

  • Nathan Abrams ’13 (research in Physical Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.)


Roosevelt Institute Fellowship

  • Ahren Stroming ’14 (Chicago institute)


DMI Scholars Program

  • Sean Mulloy ’14 (summer policy institute, New York)
  • Jane Carmody ’14 (finalist)


Barclays-FG Mogae Scholarship

  • Moabi Garebamono ’09 (international finalist)


El Pomar Fellowship

  • Lyndsey Wilson ’12 (national finalist)
  • Joanna French ’12 (national finalist)


Villers Fellowship

  • Abbye Neel ’12 (health care justice, single fellowship, finalist, 150-200 candidates)


TEACH Charlotte Fellows Program

  • Elana Congress ’12 (training and full-time teaching in Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system)


Sitka Fellows Program

  • Sam Alden ’12 (one of eight recipients)