Two Baruch College Students Named among the 2021 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows
May 28, 2021
Two Baruch College undergraduates—Bricen Fisher (’24) and Bruno Santos Rodrigues (’23)—are among 15 students from 12 New York City colleges who were selected to be part of the 2021 class of Jeannette K. Watson Fellows, following a rigorous application process. Watson Fellows are chosen for their outstanding academic records, strong leadership potential, and desire to explore cultures and new professional fields.
The Fellowship’s comprehensive program provides three summers of paid internships with leading organizations in the U.S. around the world, a cohort of supportive peers, and ongoing mentorship. Since the program began in 1999, there have been 300 Fellows.
According to the Watson Foundation, the Fellows are represented in America’s top graduate programs and go on to become leaders in their fields including law, medicine, public policy, business, arts and sciences.
Meet Baruch College’s Award Winners
Bruno Santos Rodrigues
Santos (’23), an economics major at the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, was born in Brazil and went to high school in Peru before coming to the United States at 18 years old.
“When the announcement email came to my inbox, I couldn’t believe it,” Santos recalled. “I remembered all the work I went through during the application process, my mock interviews, and the time I spent writing my essays. Hard work pays off!”
He expressed appreciation for the assistance of Valeria Hymas, deputy director of the Office of National and Prestigious Fellowships Advising at Baruch College, for giving help with the essay and practicing the interviews, and also to his Philosophy and English Professors, James Sares and Thomas May, for the recommendation letters and the support.
Santos applied for this Fellowship because he thought the selection criteria aligned with his own values. He has a strong desire to explore new cultures and professional fields. This summer, Santos will work with the non-profit organization, Institute of International Education, as a program development and proposal management intern.
In this role, he will participate in specific projects and ongoing activities that support growth and expansion of IIE’s portfolio of programs sponsored by the U.S. and foreign governments, foundations, corporations and universities. Projects may include all phases of program development and proposal management, from the initial stages of researching and tracking new opportunities, to marketing and brand positioning, to designing concept notes, and producing proposals.
“I expect to learn a lot from any organization I work with,” explained Santos. “Resiliency and socioeconomic development are among these organizations’ priorities, and I’m very excited about this opportunity!”
Santos hopes to make a difference by enhancing the socio-economic well-being of people in South America, either through an entrepreneurial venture or an organization.
Looking ahead, Santos feels the fellowship will be beneficial on many levels.
“I’m sure this experience with the Watson Foundation will help me become a better person and professional in the future.”
Fisher is a first-year student majoring in business administration in statistics and quantitative modeling at the Zicklin School of Business. He said securing a Watson Fellowship was challenging because it involved a virtual interview process.
“I thrive most in social environments where I’m able to interact with people beyond a screen,” Fisher explained. “I am relieved knowing that through Watson, I will now have exposure to three summer internships filled with an array of experiences at prestigious organizations across the world.”
Fisher added, “While this initially emerged as the main selling point, as I learned more about Watson, the prospects of the cultural seminars, personal and professional development stood out.”
This summer, Fisher will be working with Resilient Cities Catalyst, an independent nonprofit organization formed from the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative, as both a Project Prep and Data Ecosystem Development intern. Within Project Prep, he will be conducting research and landscape analysis for partners and finance institutions to accelerate funding for municipal infrastructure projects, and develop metrics to measure resiliency in urban infrastructures.
As a Data Ecosystem intern, Fisher will use statistical analysis to support economic recovery efforts, establish scalable data structures for unemployment by occupation/industry, small business closures/opportunities, transportation, purchasing patterns, resident demographics, health outcomes, public safety, social cohesion, among other factors. Using these indicators, he will be able to provide insights to a U.S. city to explore specific policy recommendations.
“I hope to learn more efficient methods to deploy capital into communities, resulting in more robust and effective economic development,” Fisher said.
With this Fellowship, Fisher is excited about having access to an extensive mentorship network, an opportunity to travel, learn about cultures, and get exposure to varied professions.
“I have always been drawn to the finance industry with investment banking, global markets, asset management, and the hedge fund space,” he stated. “As a Watson Fellow, I’ll be able to develop a more robust and dynamic career that also encompasses advocacy. I hope to gain more depth in complex financial products, clean energy, and emerging markets.”
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