May 6, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Nick Michlewicz, a senior history and political science major at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel next year to England, Spain, Poland, Croatia, France and Turkey to study violence among European soccer fans. A graduate of Hunter College High School in New York, N.Y., Michlewicz is currently a resident of Jackson Heights, N.Y. He is the son of Witold and Grazyna Michlewicz.

Growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens, the son of Polish immigrants, Michlewicz wrote in his application, “my life and world seemed like a strange lab test for multiculturalism, a concentrated simulation of a larger global patchwork whose wars, genocide and hatreds should have given the experiment no chance of success. If anything, they should have blown up the laboratory.” It was the athletic fields—where boys of all backgrounds played at baseball, basketball and soccer—where Michlewicz saw the experiment succeed. But that experience only made his questions about fan violence at soccer games more troubling. Could the “beautiful game’s” “joy and beauty be retained while minimizing and eliminating the violence and hatred?”

While at Amherst, Michlewicz founded and ran a student storage company called MAStorage. He was the sports editor of The Amherst Student, and played varsity baseball in his first year. As a Mellon Academic Intern in his junior and senior years, he worked to create urban studies courses at Amherst. Michlewicz has interned with Major League Baseball, NYC2012 (the committee to bring the Olympic Games to New York), CNBC Television and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, a New York public relations firm. Michlewicz is also a finalist for a 2007-08 Fulbright Scholarship to Poland.

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.

Founded in 1821 for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as the premier liberal arts college in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,600 young men and women. Well known for its academic excellence, Amherst is also consistently ranked among the very best schools in the country in terms of accessibility: The college’s financial aid packages are consistently the most generous in the U.S., and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the greatest economic diversity. Diversity, in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst’s mission. The college enrolls students from every state and more than 40 countries, and for the past several years more than 35 percent of Amherst’s students have been students of color. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.