Claremont, Calif. (March 31, 2016)—Pitzer College seniors Lekha Jandhyala ’16 and Anna Nichols ’16 have been awarded 2016-17 Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The $30,000 one-year fellowships support college seniors with unique independent study projects outside of the US. Both Jandhyala and Nichols proposed creative, trans-national projects that will take them around the globe.
Lekha Jandhyala will travel to South Korea, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Japan for her project, “Place, Community, and Ephemerality: Exploring Artist Identity within Global and Local Contexts.” Through her project, Jandhyala will investigate how art, as a communicative medium, transcends place. She will engage with independent artists, art collectives and large-scale art venues to examine visual practices and the theoretical underpinnings that shape how international artists consider location in a global, contemporary context.
A combined studio art and media studies major with a minor in art history, Jandhyala served as a Getty Foundation curatorial intern in 2015 at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and now works as a media assistant with Pitzer’s Art + Environment program. Jandhyala’s previous international experience includes traveling to Japan as a dancer with the Arpana Dance Company on its Tsunami Benefit Tour in 2011 and studying abroad at Universität Koblenz-Landau in Germany, where Berlin’s vibrant arts culture ignited her interest in the contemporary art world.
Anna Nichols has been awarded a Watson for her project, “Informed Consent, Individual Choice, and the Factors Influencing Women’s Contraceptive Decision Making.” She will explore contraceptive access and experiences in Norway, Portugal, Spain and South Africa. Working with local reproductive health clinics and organizations, Nichols plans to use a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) research methodology, which employs carefully designed surveys to measure changes in people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices and reveal misconceptions or misunderstandings about a specific subject.
A biology major, Nichols has worked as both a medical services and education department intern with Planned Parenthood. After her year-long Watson Fellowship, Nichols plans to go to medical school to become an OB/GYN.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for independent study outside the United States, which is awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 40 partner colleges. Described as “a rare window of time after college and pre-career to engage your deepest interest on a world scale,” the Watson lists among its selection criteria for graduating seniors leadership, imagination, independence, emotional maturity, courage, integrity, resourcefulness and responsibility.