May 3, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Catherine Macdonald, a recent graduate of Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and will travel next year to South Africa, Australia and the Bahamas to study human-shark interaction and shoreline communities. A graduate of Highland Park High School in Highland Park, N.J., Macdonald is the daughter of James R. Macdonald IV.

Macdonald, who graduated summa cum laude from Amherst this past January with a double major in history and theater and dance, will pursue a project titled “Unsustainable Enmity: Human-Shark Interaction and Shoreline Communities.”

At Amherst, Macdonald was an active member of the theater department, performing lead roles in many departmental productions, including Proof, her senior thesis in acting. Macdonald also wrote a history thesis titled “‘The Dust They Left Behind’: Community and Persistence of Mortuary and Funerary Practices in the Connecticut River Valley, 1650-1850.”

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowships provide 60 exceptional college graduates, from 49 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.