Two Hunter Students Named 2011 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows
Distinguished Fellowship Program Grooms Freshmen and Sophomores for Professional and Personal Leadership
Two Hunter College students, Kyle Athayde and Agnieszka Gugala, have been awarded a 2011 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship. The three-year Fellowship program offers paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills and commitment to the common good.
A second year Macaulay Honors student at Hunter College, Kyle Athayde aspires to work in politics, writing or education. While he was in elementary school, he set up a chess club which went on to win third at the National Championships. At the age of 12, he saw the need to support young people in the NYC public school system and founded a non-profit to aid the development of academic skills in underprivileged children in Harlem. He also had the privilege of playing chess against Gary Asparov. Athayde attended secondary school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
Agnieszka Gugala is considering a career as either a professor, a mathematician, or an architect. A first year Macaulay Honors scholar at Hunter College, she is considering a major in math, psychology, art or political science. This wide range of interests also demonstrates itself in the extracurricular activities Agnieszka takes on. She volunteers weekly at a Polish supplementary school, tutors math at East Side Community High School, and was artistic director at Stuyvesant High School of which she is a graduate. In addition, she volunteered at the Narrows Community Theatre, assisting in the building of the set for Les Miserables. Agnieszka is fluent in English and Polish.
Both students are about to begin the process of interviewing for their first Watson summer internships. They will also participate in a summer series of weekly seminars and visit cultural institutions like Shakespeare in the Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Museum of Natural History. Every Watson Fellow receives a generous stipend for summer employment and continuing Fellowship obligations.
Established by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the Fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.” Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations, and government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings. In the third summer, Watson Fellows can apply for an international assignment through partnerships with the Institute of International Education, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Save the Children, and many other organizations.
Twelve colleges in all, including Hunter College, compete annually for fifteen Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship openings; at least one college from each borough is included in the group of eligible schools. Each school may nominate up to four candidates to send to the citywide selection panels.