Wheaton’s Watson winners

Two Wheaton College students have been awarded the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2012-2013.

Seniors Adam Goldberg and Iraimi Mercado were selected as winners from a pool of 700 candidates, of which 147 finalists were nominated to compete nationally. Goldberg and Mercado were among the 40 Watson Fellows selected this year.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one year grant for independent study and travel outside of the United States. The fellowship funds students of “unusual promise” who have an the desire and ability to explore a topic that is personally significant to them.

Goldberg will use his grant to learn how Buddhism is “used as a vehicle for social change.” He will travel to Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia and Thailand. Goldberg spent his junior year on Wheaton’s study abroad program in Bhutan. In May, he will complete his undergraduate degree in “Conflict and Social Change,” a major that he designed with Wheaton faculty.

Mercado will explore the YMCAs around the world to “discover each culture’s particular method of supporting and empowering youth, and by extension, the community.” She will conduct her research in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Senegal and the United Kingdom. Mercado was born in the Dominican Republic and is a sociology major. Last year, she completed an internship with Big Brother Big Sister in Brockton, Mass.

The stipend for the Watson fellowship is $25,000. Fellows are encouraged to study a subject that they have always wanted to explore no matter what obstacles they could encounter. This year’s recipients will traverse seventy-four countries, exploring topics from neuroscientific art to ocean acidification.

Since 2000, Wheaton students have won 143 academic awards, including Rhodes, Fulbright and Truman scholarships, in addition to Watson Fellowships.Adam Goldberg

Watson Fellow Adam Goldberg ’12

Iraimi Mercado

Watson Fellow Iraimi Mercado ’12