Three CCNY Students Named Watson Fellows

City College of New York students Shannon Finucane, Corrine Quirk and Asha Whale have received Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships for 2013. Now in its 14th year, the Watson Fellowship program, which is supported by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, provides summer internships, professional development opportunities and mentoring for outstanding undergraduate students from 12 different New York City colleges and universities.

Watson Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend for their first summer internships, and $6,000 for the second and third summers. Normally, they spend the final summer overseas.

In addition to internships, Watson Fellows participate in rich pre-professional and cultural programs that expose them to disciplines and national thought leaders that greatly expand their definition of self, success and career choice. Supported also by mentoring, Watson Fellows compete successfully for graduate school, national and international fellowships and competitive professional positions.

“The summer internships will allow me to explore my professional interests in a variety of fields including law and education,” said Ms. Finucane, a sophomore in the City College Honors Program majoring in history with a minor in women’s studies. “Although I’m not certain of my professional path, I hope that I will have a positive impact on the world.”

From Rockland County, she has a record of community service going back to her days at North Rockland High School. There, she organized an after-school Regents prep tutoring program and was editor of the school’s literary journal, “Reflections.” As a Girl Scouts she created community projects that earned her bronze, silver and gold Awards. Her current activities include peer mentoring at CUNY’s New Community College. She hopes to earn a PhD in history and work for a nonprofit that improves the lives of women. A scholar-athlete, Ms. Finucane was the CUNY Athletic Conference Spring 2012 discus champion and an All-Star.

Ms. Quirk, a freshman in the Honors Program who graduated from Clarkstown South High School, in West Nyack, N.Y., looks forward to using the fellowship to determine a possible field of study and career options. Her academic interests include international studies, history, sociology, women’s studies and Japanese.

“I am interested in the academic world, though I also would like to do more concrete work, so hopefully I will be able to find a nice blend between the two,” said Ms. Quirk, aspires to work in an international nonprofit organization that fights for women’s rights.

In high school, she participated in theater, taught Japanese and was an activist for LGBT rights. Like Ms. Finucane, she was honored by the Girl Scouts for her community service. She also participated in the Japanese Exchange Teachers-Memorial Invitation Program for high school students.

Ms. Whale is a sophomore pursuing a major in history with a minor in theatre. The Brooklyn native is considering a career in academia and film. Her future plans also include earning a PhD and teaching, as well as establishing her own production company. “My success thus far is truly a testament to the wonderfully supportive staff here at CCNY and the mentors I have found throughout CUNY,” she said.

A graduate of the Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan, she studied acting and was a member of the Teen Reviewers and Critics Program and the Youth Empowerment Seminar. She is currently involved with the United Leaders of CUNY, a student organization led and run by students in the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) and College Discovery (CD) programs.

The Watson Foundation awarded 2013 fellowships to 15 undergraduates from eight institutions. More than 150 students applied to the program.

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Photos: Top: City College sophomores Shannon Finucane [left] and Asha Whale have been named 2013 Watson Fellows.; CCNY Freshman Corrine Quirk has also been named a Watson Fellow.



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