March 27, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Tatiana Grigorenko, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and will travel next year to Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia and Kazakhastan next year to pursue a project she calls "Emerging from Ashes: Photography and Memory in the Former Soviet Republics." A graduate of The Brearley School in New York, Grigorenko is the daughter of Mary Velihan Grigorenko and Andrew Grigorenko of Astoria, N.Y.

A fine arts and French major at Amherst, Grigorenko wants to explore "issues of rebirth, regeneration, transformation, neglect and decay" in the former Soviet Union. Writing in her project proposal, she asked, "What does it mean to emerge from the ashes of a dead superpower? How does one deal with a past that simultaneously inspires terror, but also, in light of the areas' current economic situations, nostalgia? What does the youth hope for? Or has it ceased to hope?"

Grigorenko plans to attend art school, earn a master's degree in fine arts, and pursue a career as a photographer, photojournalist or college professor.

Grigorenko is one of two Amherst seniors to receive a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship this year. The fellowships provide as many as 60 exceptional college graduates, from 50 of America's leading liberal arts colleges, with the freedom to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad. The program was begun in 1968 by the family of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM, to honor their parents' interest in education and world affairs. More than 2,200 Watson Fellows have studied all over the world with the support of Watson Fellowships.