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.