Macaulay Honors College Students Ajdukiewicz and Lawrence Named 2010 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Distinguished Fellowship Program Grooms Freshmen and Sophomores for Professional and Personal Leadership

Two Macaulay Honors College students, Patrycja Ajdukiewicz and Renelle Lawrence from Baruch College, have been awarded 2010 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships. The three-year Fellowship program offers paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills, and commitment to the common good.

Established by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the Fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.”  Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements (“work they can learn from”) over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations, and government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings.  In the third summer, Watson Fellows can apply for an international assignment through partnerships with the Institute of International Education, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Save the Children, and many other organizations.

A summer series of weekly seminars further enhances the learning experience by encouraging debate and interaction and also by providing an opportunity for Watson Fellows to share learning from their work experiences.  Visits to cultural institutions like Shakespeare in the Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Museum of Natural History enable students to discover New York City’s free summer offerings.  Every Watson Fellow receives a generous stipend as compensation and support for summer employment and continuing Fellowship obligations.

A first-year student at Baruch College, Patrycja Ajdukiewicz is majoring in Public Affairs with an interdisciplinary minor combining NYC Studies, French and Photography.  She emigrated from her native Poland only five years ago.  Patrycja has explored her interest in social activism as a volunteer at a Native American Navajo reservation in Arizona where she assisted in the building of a playground for children of single mothers.  Later, she worked with the Social Activism program at the Museum of Modern Art.  She is currently a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  Patrycia is an avid Francophile, and spent a year studying at Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Paris in 2008-09. In addition to French, she is also fluent in Polish and Spanish.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Renelle Lawrence is a second-year student at Baruch College.  She is pursuing a degree in psychology with a double minor in Japanese and interdisciplinary New York studies.  Renelle has volunteered her time to assist children improve literacy through the Book Buddies program at her local library, the Change for Kids program at P.S. 160 and as a tutor at the Champion Learning Center.  She has also worked with the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Program in New York City teaching healthy eating and exercise habits.  Active in community service, Renelle has also participated in the Lend-A-Hand program and It’s My Park Day.  She has honed her skills in leadership and organization as a stage manager for productions from plays and musicals to fashion shows and concerts.

These two JK Watson Fellows are about to begin the process of interviewing for their first Watson summer internships. In the past, recipients have spent their first summer at such organizations as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, DonorsChoose, Echoing Green, and the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo.

Twelve colleges in all, including seven of the senior CUNY colleges with which Macaulay works – Baruch College, Brooklyn College, the City College of New York, the College of Staten Island, Hunter College, Lehman College, and Queens College – compete annually for fifteen Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship openings; at least one college from each borough is included in the group of eligible schools. Each school may nominate up to four candidates to send to the citywide selection panels.  Campus representatives are responsible for spreading the word about the Fellowship and navigating students through the entire process.  Only the most determined candidates complete the rigorous application process.

Twenty-eight previous Macaulay Honors College students were or are currently active Jeannette K. Watson Fellows: (2002) Priya Suryanarayanan, Anja Vojvodic, and Roberta Winters; (2003) Claudio Simpkins; (2004) Frank Copeli, Ron Kagan, Katherine McCarthy, Melody Messina, and Khadija Rentas; (2005) Shahriar Ashraf, Sara Butler, Christine Curella, and Lik Chee Sim; (2006) Nicholas Copeli, Kunchok Dolma, and Catherine Zinnel; (2007) Michaela Chase, Talia Krevsky, Valerio Russo, and Long Tran; (2008) Joseph Eastman and Michael Young; and (2009) Tyler Alterman, Brian Kateman, Ilyra Ryvin, Bing Shao, Jocelyne Jeannot and Sushanta Singha.

Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York offers an exceptional academic and co-curricular environment for engaged and motivated students, who come from all parts of New York and around the world. Macaulay students enroll in one of seven CUNY colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, Lehman, Queens and Staten Island). Through the unique Macaulay advising program each student develops a coordinated, individualized academic program that includes research, global learning, graduate and professional mentoring, community engagement, and close faculty-student collaboration. Selected for their top high school records and leadership potential, every Macaulay student receives a full-tuition scholarship, a laptop and technology support, a $7,500 study grant to pursue global learning and service opportunities, and a Cultural Passport that  provides access to more than 200 museums, libraries, and other treasures around New York City. For more information about Macaulay Honors College, see