Watson sends Lawrence students abroad -bkm (DH Heart DK -dlh)

Doris Kim

With a $22,000 fellowship award to their name, two of our own Lawrence University seniors have been granted the opportunity to have their names known to the world.
The Watson fellowship program provides graduating students with the chance for independent exploration in the field of their choice, with the freedom to pursue it anywhere in the world. The only restriction is that the entire excursion must be spent outside the United States.
Kelly Scheer, a biology major, and Benjamin Klein, a music performance (tuba) and theory/composition major, are the 63rd and 64th Lawrence recipients since the program’s inception in 1969. After a demanding application process, these two students were notified of their selection for the Watson fellowship this March.
“I had been planning to apply for the Watson ever since my freshman year” Scheer said. “I love to travel, and the Watson doesn’t just let you travel, it lets you execute a meaningful project along the way. And the project is yours ******– there are no professors giving out assignments or deadlines *******– it’s totally up to you.”
Lawrence University nominates four students each year through a process of project proposals, personal statements and campus interviews. Each student must research and design an individual twelve-month program for the application. The program selects the top proposals from the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and universities.
“I was interested in the scholarship because it challenges you to develop an entire project that is uniquely yours, and then challenges you to further implement it in a year abroad. I have always been interested in developing independent projects in the arts and this fellowship seemed like a great opportunity,” added Klein.
Using her background in biology and experience in bat activity in her independent summer research study in Door County last summer, Scheer plans to travel to the Far East. She will further pursue her interest in the interactions of nature and the public, and habitat conservation actions taken in different areas of the world.
Scheer plans on pursuing her fascination of birds and performing field studies of habitats while trailing one of the world’s longest and most important migratory bird routes, passing through Russia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Korea.
“Eventually I would like to publish my collected data in a scientific journal, and pursue a career in ecological field studies,” said Sheer. “So my project will allow me to explore this field. I wasn’t ready to head into grad school right after Lawrence. School is all I’ve ever really known and I feel like I needed to explore a bit more.”
Klein, an established performer and composer on campus, will use his fellowship to challenge his study in music and seek out creative interactions abroad. During his years at Lawrence, he has performed with the symphony orchestra, jazz and wind ensembles, and the improvisation group. His compositions have been awarded the Pi Kappa Lambda Composition Award and the James Ming Scholarship in Composition. Klein plans to travel to Amsterdam, Sydney and Hong Kong to expand his more traditional experience with music, and gain resourceful influence from young artists like him.
“I am arriving in these cities at about the same time as a new music festival. I plan on meeting other emerging artists, composers, and musicians at them and spend my four months in each city proposing collaborations” said Klein.
Such an opportunity is open to all Lawrence students, and both Scheer and Klein highly recommend applying. Said Scheer:
“It’s amazing to read your dream on paper, and even more amazing when you are granted the opportunity to realize that dream.