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Four Seniors Advance Toward Globe-Trotting Scholarship

By Tim Cook '04

November 20, 2001
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

Watson Finalists
Watson Fellowship finalists (l-r) Dillard, Hollis,
Norris, and Hartman.

Four Davidson College seniors have been selected as finalists in nationwide competition for a scholarship that funds its winners in traversing the globe to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.

Danielle F. Dillard, Amber L. Hartman, Jason C. Hollis, and Adam J. Norris were selected on the basis of proposals which included studying human relationships with sea turtles, investigating the history of human beauty, and health care research.

If they are included among the 60 winners the Thomas J. Watson Foundation will announce in March, the students will receive $23,000 to pursue their projects around the world during the next year. The Watson Foundation annually accepts nominees from 50 colleges and universities across the country, including Davidson.

Dillard, an English major from Greenville, S.C., has titled her project "'Thin' and Now: Interpretations of Large Bodies Discovered Through Images and Interview." She explained, "My project focuses on the every-changing concept of beauty."

Dillard will look at the progression of artistic interpretations of women to analyze how notions of feminine beauty are read and interpreted worldwide. She will examine a number of pop cultural icons, Mesolithic fertility goddesses, and artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Titian in countries such as Turkey, Italy, Sicily, Malta, the UK, American Samoa, Japan, and Sweden.

Hartman, a biology major from Stuart, Fla., said her project examines cross-cultural differences in palliative care at grass-roots hospices in three poverty-stricken countries. The goal of her project is to understand whether a spiritual framework is necessary for dealing with death on a regular basis, and what influences most directly shape this spiritual framework.

Hartman said, "In my volunteer work and employment with hospice, I have observed that hospice's holistic approach to end-of-life care appeals to caretakers with a developed and deep understanding of God and the cycle of life."

She continued, "This particular Watson proposal is quite personal to me. My grandfather, who worked with hospice for many years as a volunteer and read extensively on the subject, got me interested in the movement about five years ago. He passed away this summer in the care of hospice, so writing this proposal has truly been a catharsis."

Hollis, a political science major from Hamburg, N.Y., plans to explore the relationships between coastal communities and sea turtles in Kenya, Costa Rica, Seychelles, and the Cook Islands.

"The coastal communities in each country are engaging in innovative species protection programs that are mutually beneficial for the local people and the sea turtles," Hollis said. "My goal is to see how the people interact with the sea turtles on both an individual basis and in an aggregate, community basis, and see how relationships are affected--people to people, people to animal, and people to environment."

Norris, an economics major from McConnelsville, Ohio, plans to explore differences in rural health care delivery in Switzerland, New Zealand, Palau, and Costa Rica. "The services I chose range from the world's finest privatized health care system in Switzerland to systems in the developing world," he said.

He also will examine New Zealand's innovative strategies to care for rural indigenous communities, and the emphasis on preventative care in the isolated island chain of Palau. In the developing nation of Costa Rica, he will look at care in a mountain town that serves both indigenous populations and Panamanian refugees.

"The goal of the project is to experience and learn from these health care systems with a hands-on approach," he said. "I hope to emerge with some ideas for improving our own health care system in the United States.

Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., founded the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1961 as a charitable trust in honor of her late husband. The Foundation initially used its resources in support of a variety of programs. In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Watson's long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children decided that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program should constitute the major activity of the Foundation. Since that date, the Fellowship Program has granted more than 2,000 Watson Fellowship awards with stipends totaling approximately $23-million. About 60 Davidson students have received Watson Fellowships.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.

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