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Two Baruch College Students Named 2010 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Distinguished Fellowship Program Grooms Freshmen and Sophomores for Professional and Personal Leadership

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(NEW YORK, NY, April, 6, 2010) — Two Baruch students, both residents of Queens, have been awarded a 2010 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, the first such awards to Baruch which was invited to join the Fellowship only this past year. The three-year Fellowship program offers paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills and commitment to the common good.

Ajdukiewicz Renelle

This year’s recipients of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship at Baruch are Patrycja Ajdukiewicz (left) and Renelle Lawrence (right).

A first-year student at Baruch College, Patrycja Ajdukiewicz, who makes her home in Sunnyside, is majoring in Public Affairs with an interdisciplinary minor combining NYC Studies, French and Photography. Patrycja has explored her interest in social activism as a volunteer at a Native American Navajo reservation in Arizona where she assisted in the building of a playground for children of single mothers. Later, she worked with the Social Activism program at the Museum of Modern Art. She is currently a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Patrycia is an avid Francophile, and spent a year studying at Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Paris in 2008-09. In addition to French, she is also fluent in Polish and Spanish.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Renelle Lawrence is a second-year student at the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College. A resident of Queens Village, she is pursuing a degree in psychology with a double minor in Japanese and interdisciplinary New York studies. Renelle has volunteered her time to assist children’s literacy through the Book Buddies program at her local library, the Change for Kids program at P.S. 160, and as a tutor at the Champion Learning Center. She has also worked with the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Program in New York City teaching healthy eating and exercise habits. Active in community service, Renelle has also participated in the Lend-A-Hand program, and It’s My Park Day. She has honed her skills in leadership and organization as a stage manager for productions from plays and musicals to fashion shows and concerts.

Established by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the Fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.” Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements (“work they can learn from”) over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations, and government service. These placements give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings. In the third summer, Watson Fellows can apply for an international assignment through partnerships with the Institute of International Education, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Save the Children, and many other organizations.

A summer series of weekly seminars further enhances the learning experience by encouraging debate and interaction and also by providing an opportunity for Watson Fellows to share learning from their work experiences. Visits to cultural institutions like Shakespeare in the Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Museum of Natural History enable students to discover New York City’s free summer offerings. Every Watson Fellow receives a generous stipend as compensation and support for summer employment and continuing Fellowship obligations.

Twelve colleges in all, including Baruch College, competed for fifteen Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship openings; at least one college from each borough is included in the group of eligible schools. Each school may nominate up to four candidates to send to the citywide selection panels. Campus Representatives are responsible for spreading the word about the Fellowship and navigating students through the entire process. Only the most determined candidates complete the rigorous application process.

Both Ms. Ajdukiewicz and Ms. Lawrence will soon begin the process of interviewing for their first Watson summer internships. In the past, Watson Fellowship recipients have spent their first summer at such organizations as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs,, Echoing Green, and the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo.

CONTACT: Zane Berzins