Decisions are coming in for Bowdoin students who applied to national fellowships and grant programs. These decisions not only demonstrate the student body’s commitment to service and education, but also its international presence. 

To date, Phui Yi Kong ’15 has been named a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship travel grant, Will Ossoff ’15 was selected as a Junior Fellow for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Scott Mitchell ’15 won a Davis Projects for Peace grant

Updates on the Fulbright, Udall, and Truman scholars are forthcoming. 

Bowdoin is one of only 40 schools that nominate students for the $30,000 Watson Fellowship grant. The program offers college graduates a year of independent exploration through international travel. 

Kong is an English and theater interdisciplinary major who graduated in December. She stood out from 700 national finalists to become one of 50 Watson recipients and will travel to four countries with her grant. While abroad, she will explore martial arts and physical theater and study their role in fostering civic action. 

“It’s the first application I felt I could, to a large extent, divorce myself from the parental voices and societal gaze,” Kong said. “The affirmation received from the award after such an independently minded application process is multiple fold—namely empowerment through responsibility and agency.”

Director of Student Fellowships and Research Cindy Stocks said the Watson Fellowship is about finding the right match, because it is such a unique opportunity.  

“[Watson] is looking for individuals of unusual promise who need to carry out those projects and deepen their understanding around a particular issue,” she said. “One of the things that make a good Watson project is that what the person wants to do cannot be accomplished in any other way.”

Ossoff, a government major and history minor, will join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a Junior Fellow in August. Each year the organization selects 10 to 12 graduating seniors nationwide to study issues promoting active international engagement. 

According to Stocks, the admission rate is four percent and Ossoff is the first Bowdoin student to accept the award. He will start as a research assistant for the endowment’s senior associates who work on nuclear policy program.

“I’ve always been interested in peace, diplomacy and human rights,” Ossof said. “This seems like one way to address that.”

Davis Projects for the Peace awarded Mitchell a $10,000 grant as a part of its initiative to support students who want to pursue grassroots projects. 

Through his project, “Stand With Me,” Mitchell has designed an affordable pediatric stander, a standing device used for children with developmental or physical difficulties. 

So far, Mitchell’s stander has been distributed in Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, China and North Korea. With his Davis grant, he will travel to South America to collect feedback and teach local therapists and patients how to find resources and even make the device by themselves.

Bowdoin alumna Linda Kinstler ’13, a former editor in chief of the Orient, won a Marshall Scholarship to study at two graduate schools in the United Kingdom. 

The Office of Student Fellowships and Research said that there are 20 Fulbright finalists this year. However, only 12 finalists have been contacted at this time. Overall, 16 finalists applied to English Teaching Assistantships and four hope to pursue research. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education named Bowdoin a top producer of Fulbright scholars for 2014-2015, and Stocks said she expects even more Fulbridge wins this year.
“It’s going to be a record breaking year,” Stocks said.