Four Rhodes Students Nominated for Prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

collage of four college students
(top row, l-r) Aidan Smith, Marley Wisby and (bottom row, l-r) Lauren Yenari, Chris Prigg

Four Rhodes College seniors are competing for the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which provides a $36,000 grant for purposeful, independent exploration abroad in 2022. If selected, fellows execute their conceived projects by traveling outside the United States for one year. They decide where to go and when to change course. They do not have to affiliate with an academic institution or hold formal employment. The program is designed to produce a year of personal insight, perspective, and confidence. Qualities sought in the selection of fellows include imagination, independence, emotional maturity, courage, integrity, and resourcefulness.

The Rhodes nominees and their proposed projects are:

Chris Prigg, neuroscience major and computer science minor
Project Title: “The Road Less Traveled: Traversing the Dyslexic Mind”
Proposed Project Countries: Italy, Israel, Germany, Japan   

Aidan Smith, political economy major
Project Title: “Cosmographia: A Livestream in a Drought” 
Proposed Project Countries: Botswana, Egypt, Italy, Finland, Peru 

Marley Wisby, art major
Project Title: “Making Use: An Exploration of the Ties between Craft, Practicality, and Culture”
Proposed Project Countries: Indonesia, India, Morocco, Kazakhstan 

Lauren Yenari, economics and international studies bridge major and also a Chinese studies major
Project Title: “Reclaiming the Water: How Colonialism Marginalized Water Safety” 
Proposed Project Countries: South Africa, South Korea, Greece, England, and the British Virgin Islands
Prigg, who is from Baltimore, MD, is a Rhodes Student Government senator and a student trustee. He also serves on the Community Standards Council and gives Office of Admission tours to prospective students.

Smith, who is from Seattle, WA, studied abroad in the spring of 2021 in Nepal as part of the School For International Training, which fosters individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship. He attended two of the school’s programs—“Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya” and “Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples.” Smith also is a recipient of Rhodes’ Bob Buckman/Joyce Mollerup Scholarship for Study Abroad Award.

Wisby, who is from Nashville, TN, served as a Rhodes Summer Service Fellow for Playhouse on the Square in 2020, and has worked in operations and visitor services for Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Wisby also is a Rhodes Student Associate in the Rhodes art department and is currently studying art abroad in Italy.

Yenari, who is from Sarasota, FL, is the president of Chi Omega and the previous president of All Students interested in Asia on campus. Currently a regulatory and public affairs intern at FedEx Services, she was awarded the Mertie W. Buckman International internship in 2020 and is the captain of the Rhodes women’s swimming and diving team.

Rhodes students have consistently won the Watson, and those in more recent years include Jacob Fontaine ’21 and Maleelo Shamambo ’20. Students interested in learning more about the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship application process and other nationally competitive postgraduate scholarships should contact Dr. Esen Kirdis or Dr. Jason Richards, co-directors of post-graduate fellowships at Rhodes College.