Prestigious Watson Fellowship Awarded to Global Sustainability Major

Benjamin Broussard

Louisiana native Benjamin Broussard came to St. John’s University looking for opportunities both locally and globally.

Benjamin, a Global Development and Sustainability major, was recently awarded a 2022 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship. This is a highly selective program in which winners are awarded three years of paid internships with leading organizations in the US and around the world. Candidates are chosen for their strong academic record, leadership potential, and desire to explore cultures and new professional fields.

Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, and Director, External Scholarships and Fellowships, said, “Benjamin has come a long way to attend St. John’s. He is from Louisiana and identifies as Cajun-Creole. He was high school valedictorian and unit leader of his high school basketball team. His professors consider him a leader among his peers.”

Benjamin, an Ozanam Scholar, also minors in Social Justice: Theory and Practice in the Vincentian Tradition and Philosophy, and has a perfect 4.0 grade point average. After attending an information session for the fellowship at the beginning of the academic year, he recalled,

“I was drawn in by the opportunity to take part in a comprehensive professional development program as an undergraduate.”

However, the deciding factor was the chance to travel internationally for an internship experience. “That was something I really looked forward to in college.”

The first summer internship is with a New York-based organization; Benjamin will intern with TransitCenter, a nonprofit that performs research, advocates, and awards grants for the promotion of public transit across the US.

Besides the internships, each Watson fellow has access to a Discovery Fund experience, which provides funding for an event for professional or cultural development including research, conferences, or entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, Watson provides other opportunities for growth through professional seminars, cultural events, and mentorships.

“When I was looking at schools, St. John’s struck me because it was a University where I could have memorable experiences outside of the classroom, growing not just academically, but as a person. After my first year, being able to experience New York City and taking part in different service opportunities has fulfilled that hope. I look forward to studying abroad and taking future trips.”

Benjamin has high praise for the St. John’s faculty who helped him prepare his application. “This would not have happened without help from Dr. Tuchscherer, who helped me every step of the way and continues to guide me. Benjamin also credits Sanae Elmoudden, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Communication Studies, with valuable assistance.

While undecided about his future career path, Benjamin stressed that Watson is giving him the resources and opportunities to test out different fields he finds appealing such as nonprofits and governmental work. “Beyond that, it could lead me to something I would have never considered—and that’s exciting.”