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Three Hunter Students Are Named 2019 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Nibras Ahmed ’21, Devashish (Dave) Basnet ’22 and Anna Shvetsova ’21 have won the prestigious Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship.

Sponsored by the Watson Foundation, the highly selective fellowship is open to freshmen and sophomores with strong academic records at participating New York City colleges. Applicants must also have proven leadership skills and a commitment to the common good.

The three-year program includes paid summer internships at leading nonprofits and government agencies, career-planning mentors and seminars, and free entry to major cultural events. Past Watson Fellows have gone on to top graduate programs and vanguard roles in their professions.
Macaulay Honors Scholar Nibras Ahmed, the son of Bengali immigrants, is a pre-med student considering a career at intersection of medicine and entrepreneurship. Since completing a student internship in oncology research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and two internships at healthcare start-up companies, he has been especially interested in finding new ways to deliver groundbreaking treatments to the most people at the lowest cost.

Roosevelt Scholar Dave Basnet, who grew up in Nepal, looks forward to a life of public service, perhaps as a human rights attorney. He recently traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, with Hunter’s Grove Mississippi Service Corps to receive training and experience in work that benefits disadvantaged communities, and he has started his own small philanthropic foundation to help the children at his former Nepalese school obtain clothing and school supplies.

Roosevelt Scholar Anna Shvetsova, originally from Ukraine, is guided by her intense interest in health care, human rights law and criminal justice reform. Through Hunter’s Grove Fellowship Program, she helps public housing residents address environmental health problems, and through the campus Peer Health Exchange, she offers health education to local ninth graders. As a member of the CUNY Service Corps, she traveled to Puerto Rico to help residents rebuild after Hurricane Maria, and with the organization All Hands and Hearts, she did similar work in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

No wonder the Watson Foundation has awarded its public-service fellowship to these three students! As Ahmed, Basnet and Shvetsova prepare for their April award ceremony and May orientation, Hunter applauds them for winning this important, well-deserved prize.

To get expert help with applying for the top fellowships and scholarships awarded locally, nationally, and internationally, Hunter students and graduates should contact The Ruth & Harold Newman Office of Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships at (212) 396-6910 or

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