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.



Cavness ‘09.5 Picking Moss, Taking Names in Iceland

It’s always fun to see what the Watson Fellows are up to (like before). And so it’s worth checking in with Cully Cavness ‘09.5 and his blog: (mis)adventures of a roaming coloradan. Here’s an article pre-departure of Cavness’ plans which are now in full swing.

He’s now in Iceland. Posting yesterday from Reykjavik, he says:

I have assumed responsibility for shipping and insuring a half-million-dollar turbine gear from Iceland to Germany via the Netherlands. It’s a complex task to say the least, and surprisingly educational. I’ve also spent a few days talking with the owner of http://www.thinkgeoenergy.com. This website is the de facto source for all news geothermal. The site’s owner is also the Director of Sustainable Energy at the Bank of Iceland, so I’ve enjoyed a few top-floor powwows in the Islandsbanki headquarters.

… I called up the Director of Safety at Calpine, which operates The Geysirs geothermal field in California (largest geothermal development field in the world), and told him about Landsvirkjun’s gas problem. He literally laughed at the policy – achieve 99.5% abatement in 4 years. It took Calpine 30 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve the same results. He told me to “queue up the mission impossible music,”…

Watson Goes Ivy

As Tim Spears kindly writes in: Emma Watson has been visiting the Ivies down South (as in South of the Vermont border). The Yale Daily News reports that, “Watson stopped in New Haven to take a private tour of Yale’s campus and talk to students about their experiences at the University. During her brief visit, Watson generated considerable attention on a campus known for its resemblance to — and obsession with — Hogwarts.” OK, they have an obsession? We have Quidditch. Then again, Middlebury was not her East Coast tour…unless Shawn Rae in the Admissions Office is hiding something from MiddBlog.