WELLESLEY, Mass. - Two seniors at Wellesley College, Diane
Morgan of Wyckoff, N.J., and Lorena Ramirez of Union, N.J.,
have been awarded prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships
to pursue independent research projects while traveling
outside the United States for one year after graduation.
They are two of the 60 Watson fellows chosen for the honor
this year. With their selection, 41 Wellesley students have
been named Watson Fellows since 1981 when the College became
a participating institution in the program.
Watson Fellows travel to all parts of the world investigating
topics like genetic resource sharing, vernacular architecture,
spice production, trail maintenance, rural healthcare delivery
and traditional sailing vessels. Nearly 1000 students from
50 selective private liberal arts colleges and universities
applied for these awards. Students must be nominated by
their college or university and compete on a national basis.
The fellows each receive $22,000 for their year of travel
and study, which must be conducted outside formal academic
Morgan, the daughter of Gregory and Sally Morgan of Wyckoff,
N.J., will pursue an ambitious sailing trip, studying navigation
and maritime culture aboard sailing ships in the areas of
Denmark, Egypt, Holland and Samoa.
"I intend to sail aboard traditional sailing vessels in
Scandinavia, Holland, the region known as Phoenicia in the
eastern Mediterranean, and Polynesia," she said. "I want
to immerse myself in shipboard life and explore both navigational
tools and culture aboard each of the vessels. This project
is fascinating to me because I love sailing aboard larger
vessels, in which dynamics aboard the ship change with every
new crew member. It is interesting to observe how the ship
reflects the society it leaves, and how often how it does
not. Furthermore, I will explore cross-cultural comparisons
of navigational tools, ship design and cultural similarities,
such as myths, traditions and songs."
Morgan is international relations major at Wellesley, with
a focus in economic integration. She has studied abroad
twice, first with the Sea Education Association, a combination
of land and sea experience during which she studied oceanography,
nautical science and oceanography. She also spent her junior
spring in Berlin, Germany, practicing the language and learning
about current European Union issues. While at Wellesley,
she has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, at Boston's
St. Francis Soup Kitchen and as a volunteer swim instructor
at the Newton YMCA.
After the Watson Fellowship, she will pursue a higher degree
in international relations, saying, "My life goal is to
solve some large problem in the world and leave it a better
place than I found it."
Ramirez grew up in Colombia, South America. The daughter
of journalists and political activists Jaime Ramirez and
Doris Zapata-Ramirez, she and her family fled Colombia in
1992 and received political asylum in the United States,
an experience that drew her to helping other women in difficult
"This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern at the
Office of the Women's Ombudsman in San Josť, Costa Rica,"
Ramirez said. "There I was able to carry out a study about
the conditions and reality faced by female prisoners at
the only women's prison in Costa Rica: El Buen Pastor. The
purpose of my internship was to draft a report for the government
of Costa Rica, with recommendations on how to better the
lives of female inmates institutionally."
Ramirez now will explore the theme of women in prison in
countries outside of that area through the Watson Fellowship.
She will study poetry and prose by women in prisons in Bolivia,
Britain, Ireland, Peru, South Africa and Spain.
"My sense is that not only would I find many parallels,
given the unique needs faced by this particular female population,
but that it would be an incredible cultural exchange and
an amazing cultural compilation to record the personal narratives
and compile the poetry, thoughts, prose and letters of female
inmates around the globe," Ramirez said. "This project reflects
my wish to give women in prison that same opportunity to
find their voice, even within a political and economic structure
that excludes them."
While at Wellesley, Ramirez has interned for the Ombudsman
for Human Rights in Costa Rica, the Oscar Arias Foundation
for Peace and Human Progress and for a former U.S. senator
from New Jersey. She has served as vice president of College
Government, student representative to the Board of Trustees,
resident advisor, treasurer of the Rugby team and senator
for Pomeroy Hall. She is also the Student Coordinator for
the Not-for-Profit/Public Sector program at Wellesley's
Center for Work and Service. Last spring she was awarded
the Emily Greene Balch stipend by the Peace and Justice
Studies Department to fund her research on prison reform
in Costa Rica.
She was also chosen by the Center for Work and Service
to participate in the Wellesley in Costa Rica internship
program in the summer of 1999, where she did research on
gender-sensitive agrarian reform. A member of the Sigma
Delta Pi, the Spanish Honor Society, she is student assistant
to Spanish Professor Marjorie Agosin.
After completing her year on the Watson Fellowship, she
plans to enroll in law school to pursue a career in Human
Rights Law. She will graduate from Wellesley with a double
major in Latin American Studies and Peace and Justice Studies
Founded in 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in
liberal arts and the education of women for 125 years. The
College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate