Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, Harlem Native Andy Garcia Wins Prestigious Watson Travel Fellowship

April 5, 2022

Bard College senior and Harlem native Andy Garcia ’22 has been awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which provides for a year of travel and exploration outside the United States.

Continuing its tradition of expanding the vision and developing the potential of remarkable young leaders, the Watson Foundation selected Eugley as one of 42 students to receive this award for 2022-23.

The Watson fellowship offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel—in international settings new to them—to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.

Each Watson Fellow receives a grant of $36,000 for 12 months of travel and independent study. Over the past several years, 24 Bard seniors have received Watson fellowships.

Andy Garcia ’22, from Harlem, New York, will visually theorize, through a photographic lens, what the present and future of the African diaspora would be if colonization and slavery had not occurred.

Using their 23andMe results as an itinerary, Garcia will confront the sinister colonial history that has caused fractures and gaps in the understanding of identity in African diasporic descendants.

A photography major, Garcia says: “African diasporic people have ended up in these places as a result of immigration, expatriation, and slavery. In creating a visual Afro-futurist media grounded in my lens as a person whose identity has been fractured by colonialism and slavery, I will materialize theories on the future of the African diaspora. This engagement with my ancestral history will enable me to rethink notions of identity beyond just connections to land in a global history marked by forced and coerced immigration.” They will spend their Watson year in Spain, France, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and, hopefully Pakistan.

A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations and abilities through a personal project cultivated on an international scale.

Watson Fellows have gone on to become leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award winners, Pulitzer Prize awardees, artists, diplomats, doctors, entrepreneurs, faculty, journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers and inspiring influencers around the world.

Following the year, they join a community of peers who provide a lifetime of support and inspiration. More than 3000 Watson Fellows have been named since the inaugural class in 1969.

For more information about the Watson Fellowship, visit https://watson.foundation.

Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City.

With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley.

It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally.

Building on its 161-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education.

The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement.

Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.

Photo credit: Andy Garcia ’22, from Harlem, New York. By Eli Jensen ’22.

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