About the Watson Fellowship

"The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers college graduates of 'unusual promise' a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel -- in international settings new to them -- to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community."

-Thomas J. Watson Foundation

My Watson:

"A Sustainable Future for Food and Farming: Modern Technology and Traditional Wisdom"*

Tanzania, India, Bhutan, Bolivia, the Netherlands, and Iceland 

Global population has just reached seven billion. So in feeding the world, can we solely rely on a mechanized food and agriculture system? Can small-scale traditional farming prevail? Is there a need for both? I will explore the influence of technology in food systems to understand how this multifaceted, controversial, and relatively contemporary concept manifests itself across a range of cultures. I seek a balanced awareness of the issues surrounding food security and cultural continuity in a changing world where some would argue that technology is apotheosized, tradition is threatened, and the welfare of the natural environment is overlooked.

Basic Responsibilities and Guidelines:
  • Depart the US by August 1, 2013
  • Remain outside of the US for the full 12 months (including flying through American airports), as well as any countries on my 'No Return' list (places I've traveled extensively before, i.e. Australia)
  • Do not enter countries on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning or U.S. Treasury Embargo list (including transit)
  • Maintain independence throughout the year, refraining from fixed employment or any volunteer engagements that would cause you to lose control and oversight of your project agenda
  • Refrain from "social networking" with current fellows until after the Returning Fellows Conference in August 2014
  • Pursue the Watson philosophy of a 'solo' fellowship experience by eschewing lengthy visits from family and friends
  • Submit summary reports, 2-3 pages in length, at the end of your 3rd, 6th, and 9th months
  • Submit a five page final report, reflecting on your entire year, and a financial accounting for your stipend expenditures
Contact Me:

I welcome correspondence.  If you have questions, comments, or just want to say hi, please email me: laulhowe@gmail.com - And although I can’t guarantee how timely my response will be, I can promise that I will eventually reply :) This invitation to connect especially goes out to prospective fellows/current applicants/future Watsons - I had a lot of guidance and support from past fellows and am eager to return the favor!

*The title of my project has been changed from its previous wording: "The Future of Food: Modern Technology and Traditional Agriculture Systems." As my Watson year progressed and evolved, I realized that many of the questions I sought to answer were related to sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) and not only included "traditional agriculture systems," as my title implied, but modern agriculture systems, often with traditional indigenous wisdom intertwined.

**Note: The words, views, opinions, etc. expressed on this blog are my own and do not reflect those of the Watson Foundation.

***Also notice my tribute to JRR Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Like Bilbo Baggins, I hope to go "There and Back Again" :)

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