Watson Scholars Announced

The Watson scholars were announced last week and this year Middlebury seniors Austin Davis and Sarah Midzik are both recipients of the prestigious grant.  The Watson Fellowship is a year long $25,000 grant for independent study outside the United States.  The website says the Watson is intended to “enhance [the recipients’] capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.”

Davis’ project is titled:  “Dawa” But Not Out: Investigating Arab Perceptions of Disability.  Here is his abstract from the website.

I will travel to Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Arab communities in London to observe and interact with a variety of Arab people with disabilities as well as the people who help them manage their disability. I aim to gain a better individual understanding of the lived experience of disability in different Arab contexts. As someone who underwent an emergency bilateral above-knee amputation in Egypt as well as a long-time Arabic student, this project will be rewarding on a number of levels.

Midzik’s project is titled: “Darwin in the Desert: Explorations of Evolution Across the Middle East.”  Her abstract:

I propose to spend a year traveling across the Middle East and North Africa in an attempt to better understand how individuals of different religious traditions grapple with Darwinian evolution. I will explore whether the shared conceptual challenge that evolution poses to people of faith can be a point of overlapping discussion, and the possibility for conversations about evolution to be integrated into interfaith dialogue and initiatives. I also will examine my own identity as both a rational scientist and a spiritual believer, and the tension between the two.

Congratulations to both seniors!  Check out all of the recipients here.