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What Is the Watson?
One Year
Independent Study
Graduating Seniors

Program History
Thomas J. Watson     Foundation
Where Can I Go?
Expectations of a Fellow

Watson Videos
Going Solo: The Watson

Memories and Motives:

    Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
    with Walter Cronkite

Independent Study
When we say independent study, we mean something a little different from independent study as undertaken at a college or university. Watson Fellows must create, execute, and evaluate their own projects. When they wake up in the morning most Watson Fellows ask themselves, What am I going to do today? If you believe that you will wake up and ask, What do they want me to do today? then you are probably not imagining a Watson. Of course, a fellowship year may include some time spent learning a language, or dance steps, or a scientific method, and during those times a fellow may be subject to someone else's agenda. However, the Watson Fellowship is intended to be a time when fellows are their own advisors. The fellow should decide how questions can be answered, when it is time to move on, if a project must be adjusted in any way, etc. It is for this reason that Watson Fellows do not affiliate themselves with an academic institution, do not spend 12 months exclusively in a training course, and do not have volunteer work for institutions like Habitat for Humanity as their primary activity. Some fellows undertake volunteer work to gain access to people they wish to observe or interview, but in such cases the fellow should feel that he/she is still in charge of the project.

Copyright 2014 The Thomas J. Watson Foundation