Several students received nationally competitive grants and scholarships this year, including a Watson Fellowship, two honorable mentions for the Udall Scholarship and, so far, two Fulbright Grants for English Teaching Assistantships.

The Watson Fellowship is a prestigious and highly competitive one-year grant awarded to graduating seniors of "unusual promise" for a year of independent foreign travel and exploration. Upon accepting the $25,000 stipend, the fellows must agree not to return to the United States (or their home country) for 12 months and must embrace their independent projects on a large, potentially global scale.

Teona Williams '12 received the Watson this year and her project, "A Search for Playtime: Understanding the Meaning of Nature Among Marginalized Groups," will involve travel to India in August, then South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. She explained, however, that her destinations are flexible and that she might decide to alter the course during her travels.

"My project is basically attempting to see how marginalized communities participate in outdoor recreation or get back to nature," said Williams. "I'll be going to different national parks and will be working with different ecotourism organizations that are trying to encourage local people to participate in outdoor recreation so that I can see the local perspective on playing in nature."

Last year, Williams received a Udall Scholarship, which consists of a trip to the scholarship conference in Tucson, Ariz. and a $5,000 grant for tuition.

The Udall Scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated either environmental leadership or commitment to Native American health care and tribal public policy.

This year, two Bowdoin students received honorable mentions for Udall Scholarships. These students, Sheela Turbek '13 and Shannon Grimes '14, were both awarded $350 and access to the Udall alumni network.

Grimes is the leader of the Green Bowdoin Alliance and a government and French major. Her interest and involvement in environmental action prompted her to apply.

"I've always been engaged in various environmental issues," said Grimes. "I'm from Montana and I have been involved in extracurricular environmental action throughout high school and here at Bowdoin as well. My work with Green Bowdoin Alliance has definitely impacted my view of environmental action."

Then there are the Fulbright scholars. Two students, seniors Eli Garrard and Daniel Jeong, have received confirmation of their respective teaching assistantships in Argentina and South Korea. Fulbright Teaching Assistantships enable U.S. citizens to teach English at foreign schools and the grants encourage advanced study in a foreign host country.

The Office of Student Fellowships and Research is expecting to hear back about three other Fulbright applicants within the next two weeks.