May 6, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Hilary Palevsky, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and will travel next year to Iceland, Denmark, the U.K. and Canada to study cod populations in North Atlantic cod fisheries. A graduate of Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale, Pa., Palevsky is the daughter of Dr. Paul M. Palevsky and Dr. Sharon R. Roseman of Sewickley, Pa.

Describing her growth as a scientist and activist for clean water—her “infatuation with water and the environment—” Palevsky wrote in her application that “we must…seek creative solutions that will enable our society to continue on its course, but on a different, less destructive path. Finding these solutions will be the most pressing task of my generation, and will require cooperation between people with disparate ideas and backgrounds. The natural world does not partition itself by the artificial boundaries of academic disciplines or national borders.”

Palevsky began her search for solutions to the world’s water woes in the Ohio River watershed near her home, as well as in the Chesapeake Bay. As a college student, she spent a semester with the maritime studies program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, traveled with the Keck Geology Consortium to Puerto Rico and was active in Water Watch at Amherst College, which organized cleanups of local waterways. She also participated in Hillel and the fencing team, and worked as a laboratory teaching assistant and a guide at the Amherst College Museum of Natural History. A geology major at Amherst, Palevsky expects to eventually pursue a graduate degree in oceanography.

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.