L to R: Teagan Sweet and Evelyn (Eve) Austin
Two more St. John’s University undergraduates have been awarded the prestigious Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship—a three-year, international internship program funded by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.
The students, Teagan Sweet and Evelyn (Eve) Austin, join junior Johnny Wiley (2017), senior Sylvie Do-Vu (2016), and Trevor Farland ’17C (2014) as the University’s most recent Watson winners.
Each year, The Watson Foundation selects 15 students for the elite fellowship from 12 partner colleges and universities in New York City. The Foundation helps each fellow secure paid internships which take place over three successive summers. The first internship must take place in New York City; the second can be anywhere in the United States or abroad; and the final happens overseas.
According to the Foundation, the experience takes students “across disciplines, sectors, and international borders.” Teagan, a Chemistry major with minors in Photography and International Studies, was drawn to the fellowship because of that unique opportunity for discovery.
“I have always been interested in learning about unrelated disciplines and how they might connect,” she said. “Chemistry and photography are very different—but I love them equally.”
As a Watson Fellow, Teagan interned this summer at the national nonprofit media arts organization, American Documentary, Inc. There, she worked on their series POV, which is television's longest-running showcase for independent, nonfiction films.
“I chose American Documentary, Inc. because they create films that encourage learning from a different perspective,” said Teagan. “POV is especially good at giving a voice to people and ideas that don't necessarily receive a spotlight.”
Teagan’s commitment to service is evident on campus in her role as a student ambassador with Catholic Relief Services and in the community through her work with Midnight Run—an organization that distributes food, clothing, blankets, and personal care items to the homeless poor on the streets of New York City.
“In the future, I hope to perform research in chemistry that touches people’s lives. Research is just one way I love to help people.”
“Teagan is someone who desires to connect her talents in the sciences with something bigger and broadly impactful,” said Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., Associate Provost for External Scholarships and Fellowships, and Associate Professor, Department of History. “She has an ability to connect with everyone—no matter their interests—because she finds the world around her so fascinating.”
Even though it is months away, Teagan is already in the planning stages of her second-year summer internship through Watson. “I am extremely excited to travel,” she said. “I have been considering working on environmental scientific research in the Galápagos Islands or Bhutan, or being able to curate and work at museums in Europe.”
Eve Austin first learned of the Watson Fellowship at an information session during her sophomore year at St. John’s. “I remember thinking, ‘This would be perfect for me,’” she recalled. “I worked on my essays for the application immediately.”
Dr. Tuchscherer offered guidance as Eve applied for the fellowship. “Eve is a problem solver who operates with a big-picture perspective,” said Dr. Tuchscherer. “She sees potential in an interdisciplinary approach, combining her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Public Service with a Business minor. At her core is a dedication to social justice.”
Eve has been a proponent of service work since childhood, when she joined the Girl Scouts. Today, she gives back to the organization by serving as a National Volunteer Partner. “I have been on the receiving end of the work they do to help girls grow into their true potential,” she said. “I know there are girls somewhere in the world who will benefit from my help, and that makes the effort worthwhile.”
Through the Watson organization, Eve interned with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, working on a team that allocates funds for arts organizations in and around the city. “It was a remarkable opportunity to get hands-on government experience while doing something as important as supporting the arts,” she said.
Looking ahead, New Zealand is on Eve’s list of countries under consideration for the international component of the Watson Fellowship. “I’ve always wanted to travel there, and I would like to work for Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand,” she said. “I am a passionate supporter of environmental justice, so, I would welcome the opportunity to intern with governmental groups focusing on that area.”
No matter where she decides to intern through Watson, Eve is committed to follow a career path where she can serve others. “As a Public Administration and Public Service major, service is essential to my career plans,” she said.
“I’ve shaped my education to enable myself to best serve those in underserved communities when I graduate.”
—Evelyn (Eve) Austin