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Four Ursinus Students Named Thomas J. Watson Finalists

The entire campus community is invited to watch Mary Margaret Baldy ’21, Shelsea Deravil ’21, Jadidsa Perez ’21, and Sianneh Vesslee ’21 speak about their proposed Watson projects on Wednesday, November 18, from noon to 1 p.m.

Click here to register for the event and participate in the Zoom meeting.


Ursinus is one of 41 partner institutions that can nominate students for the one-year grant, which fosters international research and exploration among its participants. Finalists are announced in mid-March.

The 2021 Ursinus finalists’ projects are as follows:

Mary Margaret Baldy ’21: “Sports: A Microcosm of National Identity”

Baldy says, “For my Watson year, I intend to travel to Japan, Australia, South Africa, the U.K., Spain, and Croatia to explore the nexus of national identity and sport. Sports have always been a huge part of my life and coming to Ursinus has given me the opportunity to compete on the field hockey team without compromising on my academic interests. This project is extremely meaningful to me as it combines my love of sport with politics.”

Shelsea Deravil ’21: “Intergenerational Tensions in Cinemas of Diverse Cultures”

Deravil says, “This project will look at how intergenerational tensions within diverse cultures and communities are reflected onscreen in their cinemas. By journaling and observing what I experience and witness, as well as networking with film communities to actively participate in understanding the cultures’ values, I will have collected many diverse stories that, overall, are similar or connected in more ways than we believe. This project is very important to me because I grew up with ethnic diversity in communal and academic settings, and that is something I wish to stay with me for the rest of my life. With diversity, I believe we can learn how to broaden our mindsets and connect with the world on a global scale.”

Jadidsa Perez ’21: “How do territories fit in a global stage?”

Perez says, “My project is centered around territories, the way they interact with their respective mainland, and how they fit into the world at large. Do we consider them modern colonization or is ‘territory’ a postcolonial byproduct? This topic carries significance because I was born in Puerto Rico. As much as I love it, it’s also brought a lot of difficulty as someone who now lives in the states. I want to explore more about that complexity.”

Sianneh Veslee ’21: “Holding and Reclaiming Stories and Histories of Medicine”

Veslee says, “My goal is to learn more about the relationship between minority and indigenous communities within the larger state and the western ways of collecting and passing on memories and stories of health and medicinal practices. This project is very important to me because I want to learn about the tradition of storytelling. I want to understand how we remember our stories and history, and I want to understand how western influences and perspectives can erase the way indigenous cultures and communities remember and hold histories and stories.”