J.K.Watson Undergraduate Fellowship

St. John's University is proud to be one of a select number of institutions partnering with the Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship.

The Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship provides internships, mentoring, and enriched educational opportunities to promising New York City undergraduates with the goal of increasing their life choices and developing their capacity to make a difference in their own and others’ lives.

We are proud of our St. John's students who currently hold Watson Fellowships:

  • Lauren Smyth and Adela Ruiz from 2010 (See below for updates on these recipients.)
  • Congratulations to our 2012 J.K. Watson Fellowship recipient, Meiyi Shi !
  • Read about Trevor Farland, a 2014 recipient of the J.K. Watson Fellowship (See below)

Their biographies are found below. 

The centerpiece of the Fellowship is on-the-job learning that:

  • Provides opportunities for leadership and personal growth;
  • Helps students test in practice what they might be learning in the classroom;
  • Provides experience and insight on choices for future vocations;
  • Assists students in thinking about graduate program opportunities;
  • Helps students present more compelling applications for national fellowships, graduate admissions, and jobs.

Students interested in familiarizing themselves with the requirements necessary to be a Jeannette K. Watson Fellow can find all the necessary information here. Students should also contact our University's Watson Fellow Representative, Prof. Lawrence Pitilli. You may also contact Associate Professor Gina M. Florio


Trevor Farland '17C traveled 2,200 miles to attend St. John's Univerisity. He is part of St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Trevor is a native of Kayenta, Arizona and a member of the Navajo tribe. According to Dean Jeffrey Fagen, Ph.D., "Trevor truly exemplifies St. John's values of academic excellence, hard work and personal integrity."  See the complete story on Trevor at http://www.stjohns.edu/about/news/2014-05-02/government-and-politics-major-earns-coveted-watson-fellowship 

Trevor is currently (July 2015) in his second summer as a Watson Fellow and is an intern in the NYC Office of Mayor Bill De Blasio. Last summer (2014) he worked at the Central Park Zoo as a counselor in their day camp and educational program.

Meiyi Shi '15  was born in China and attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City. She received a St. John’s University Presidential Scholarship in 2011, and is a double major in Biology and Chemistry. At Saint John’s University, her interest in medicine has led her to become a research associate at New York Hospital in Queens. She is also assisting a professor at STJ in his research on Parkinson’s Disease. (Meiyi is considering a career in either gynecology, teaching or Public Health Administration.) While her primary interest is in the sciences, she still makes time to foster her passion for human rights and is an active youth leader with the Make the Road program, organizing outreach programs and writing articles for the organization’s newspaper. As a student at Stuyvesant High School, she initiated a program to help her fellow students from some of the stresses of a competitive school situation. Meiyi has already become certified in HIPPA Research and CPR/First Aid.

Ms. Shi has been accepted for her first Watson Summer Internship at Beth Israel Cancer Center. The internship is from June to August 2012.

Adela Ruiz '13
 was born in the Dominican Republic majoring in anthropology. She is considering several career options: social worker, lawyer, counselor, or teacher. She participated in a project to refurbish an old church in Detroit for use as a soup kitchen and clothes drive location. Dedicated to service, Adela works as a wellness peer educator. She has tutored elementary school students, volunteered at a nursing home, and acted as a church retreat leader. Adela is fluent in Spanish, and has been awarded the National Spanish Examinations Gold Award as well earned the Tri-City 3rd Place Award in the level 4 bilingual category. Year Up New York hosted Adela for her first Watson summer. She spent her second summer interning at the Office of Council Council Member Leroy Comrie.

Adela Ruiz’s first Watson summer was spent at Year-Up New York, an organization that works to prepare disadvantaged youth for jobs in the corporate world. She worked at the legislative office of City Councilmember Leroy Comrie during her second Watson summer, and will spend her final summer in Venice interning at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Lauren Smyth '13 comes from Skokie, Illinois and is also majoring in anthropology. A first-year student with interests in architecture, curatorial work in museums, anthropology, and languages, she is a  Presidential Scholar and honor roll student. Lauren is an accomplished French horn player, having held the position of 1st chair in multiple ensembles. In addition, she is also a versatile athlete competing in soccer, basketball and swimming. Lauren was named the 2009 Senior Athlete of the Year and given the District 219 Superstar Award for Athletics and Activities. Her volunteer experience includes refereeing for the American Youth Soccer Organization, tutoring high school students in literacy, and working for the Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals. The Publications Office of the Rubin Museum of Art is where Lauren worked during her first summer. Fast Company Magazine hosted Lauren for her second summer.

Lauren Smyth worked in the publications office of the Rubin Museum of Art during her first Watson summer, spent her second summer at Fast Company Magazine, and will spend her final summer in Hyderbad, India working with the MV Foundation.