Two John Jay Students Named as Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Two John Jay Students Named as Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Two John Jay Students Named as Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Two John Jay College students have been chosen as part of the 2015 class of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellows, the prestigious educational-opportunity initiative sponsored by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. Joining the fellowship program this year are Stacy Aguilar, a freshman majoring in Forensic Psychology, and Kadeem Robinson, a sophomore majoring in Political Science.

The Watson Fellowships provide outstanding undergraduates at selected New York City colleges the opportunity for paid internships for three successive summers.

“The J.K. Watson Fellowship Program offers our students a wonderful opportunity to explore the world through internships and seminars that encourage their curiosity, develop their communication skills and give them ample opportunities to develop leadership skills, self-discipline and integrity,” noted Vielka Holness, Director of John Jay’s Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities and Preparation.

In addition to internships, Watson Fellows participate in enriching pre-professional and cultural programming. Combined with close mentoring, Watson Fellows compete successfully for graduate school, national and international fellowships and competitive professional positions.

In the course of the program, Fellows will work in three sectors: nonprofit organizations; government, for-profit or law, and a final summer overseas. Each internship is a minimum of eight to ten weeks. The stipend is $5,000 for the first year and $6,000 for the second and third years.

Aguilar, a resident of Glendale, Queens, is an alumna of Brooklyn Technical High School, and is now a part of the Macaulay Honors College at John Jay. Choosing John Jay was easy, she said. “For forensic psychology, there’s nowhere to go but John Jay. It’s a fairly new field, and it’s really exciting.” As a high school senior, she sat in on a John Jay psychology class on memory taught by Professor Jill Grose-Fifer, who is now one of her mentors.

Aguilar learned of the Watson Fellowships from her first-year Peer Mentor, Monnero Guervil, who was chosen as a Watson Fellow last year. “He encouraged me to apply,” she said. “I see it as a great opportunity to grow and develop leadership skills.”

Her dream, she said, is to become an FBI agent, and an expert in eyewitness testimony. “John Jay is the place to be,” Aguilar said.

John Jay’s sophomore Watson Fellow, Robinson is a Bronx resident who was born in Springfield, Mass., and raised in Jamaica. “My parents wanted me to attend college in the U.S.,” he said, noting that he chose John Jay because he wants to become a lawyer in the area of international human rights. “There are lots of resources, like the Pre Law Institute, to facilitate my growth,” said Robinson, who identified Professor José Luis Morín as a mentor. He hopes to be accepted into the John Jay Honors Program for the 2015-2016 academic year.

A soft-spoken young man with eclectic interests, Robinson is the current treasurer of the John Jay Theatrical Players, and says he would love to be placed with an organization that integrates international affairs and theater. He is also interested in advocating for LGBTQ rights. “I still wish to pursue international law,” he said, “but at the end of the Watson Fellowship, who’s to say what could happen.”

Holness encourages John Jay students to contact her office to learn how they might compete for future Watson Fellowships. The office is located in Room 1100 North Hall; telephone 646.557.4804.

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation, founded in 1961, is named in honor of the founder of IBM, and supports programs that provide transformational exposure and experiential learning opportunities to some of the nation’s most promising undergraduate students each year.