Bates students awarded Watson Fellowships

Bates College seniors Kristen Frederick of Columbia, S.C., and Weston Noyes of Salt Lake City, Utah, are two of 60 students nationwide recently selected to receive Thomas J. Watson Fellowships.

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation this year considered 184 candidates nominated by 49 private, liberal arts colleges noted for their quality and commitment to undergraduate education. The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program seeks to recognize individuals who demonstrate integrity, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership and potential for humane and effective participation in the world community.

For Frederick, the $22,00 award will support a year of travel and research in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Peru, China and Egypt to investigate the way past cultures understood time, the way they performed experiments and measurements related to astronomy and the models they constructed of the universe. Frederick, a physics major at Bates, plans to repeat several experiments that were pivotal to changes in astronomical thought, from antiquity to the present. Through her experiments and interviews, she hopes to understand the evolution of astronomical models and learn more about the origins of our present models.

“With the Watson Fellowship, I, too, can commence upon a journey that will lead me to ponder the significance of the cosmos,” Frederick said. “I anticipate that this experience will fill me with an appreciation for the unsung creators of astronomy and lead me to question the origins of our current ideology.”

A dean’s list student, Frederick has created and completed independent studies on the science of radio and robotics at Bates. During the summer after her junior year, she worked in the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratories on a rocket payload intended to study hydrogen emissions from Jupiter’s upper atmosphere. This work inspired her independent senior thesis at Bates on attitude control systems of spacecraft.

For Noyes, the $22,000 award will support a year of travel and research in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan to investigate the complex relationship between landscape, spirituality and visual aesthetic of rural Himalayan people. As he travels, Noyes, a studio art major in painting at Bates, plans to create a collection of photographic and mixed-media images that will be composed into a book. Noyes will juxtapose specific local detail, such as regional embroidery and icons, with his own photographic, painted and drawn images of the mountains, indigenous people and local botany.

Among the questions guiding Noyes’ work will be how traditions of visual aesthetics grounded in the mountain landscape of rural Himalayan people are reflected in Buddhism, how the marks of development and Western influence among geographically remote Buddhist cultures influence their relationship to the landscape and what common myths and misperceptions about these mountain cultures have been created as a result of increased contact with the West.

“I tried very hard to design a project that reflected my personal and spiritual interests and also spoke genuinely about what it means to me to be an artist,” Noyes said. “Throughout the application process, I mostly just tried to be myself as much as possible, so receiving the Watson Fellowship really feels like a wonderful affirmation of the life that I’m living.”

During a sophomore year leave from Bates, Noyes studied art at University of Tasmania School of Art in Hobart, Australia, where he focused on painting, printmaking, film, drawing and digital imaging. He also learned traditional Maori bone carving techniques and created several art works based on his observations of the New Zealand landscape. At Bates, Noyes has been a dean’s list student, a member of the Ultimate Frisbee and the men’s ice hockey teams and a cast member in the Theater at Bates productions of “The Twin Menaechmi” and “Twelfth Night.”

Bates history professor Dennis Grafflin, the Thomas J. Watson liaison officer for Bates and the chair of the college’s Watson Committee, said that the fellowship program, now in its 32nd year, “is unique in its concern for giving recent college graduates an opportunity to develop an interest anywhere else in the world, outside the framework of academic or occupational responsibilities. It is the most long-term sort of investment in human capital, seeking to expand its fellows’ sense of their own capacities as people who will lead and change the world.”

Frederick, a 1996 graduate of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, is the daughter of Dr. Robert A. and Dr. Arlene W. Frederick of Columbia, S.C.

Noyes, a 1995 graduate of Judge Memorial High School, is the son of Dr. Robert D. Noyes of 376 Crestline Circle, Salt Lake City, and Dr. Linnea S. Noyes of 204 Canyon Road, Salt Lake City.

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