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Watson Fellowship will fund Earlhamite's global study of alternative forms of justice

March 21, 2017

Imani Lewis-Norelle ’17 has been selected for one of the nation’s most prestigious post-baccalaureate scholarships for a year of independent study and international travel outside of the United States.

Her project, “Stories of Seeking Alternative Solutions to Violence,” is one of just 40 projects selected nationally by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation for $30,000 in funding. As part of her proposal, Lewis-Norelle will travel to Bolivia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and South Africa to conduct research on non-governmental systems of justice.

“This project grew out my Peace and Global Studies thesis because I was interested in what communities were creating at the local level outside of the United States to address violence,” Lewis-Norelle says. “Given how broken our state structures are, specifically the criminal justice and prison systems, it was very interesting to me to see what people were creating and what possibilities existed elsewhere.

“By collecting stories from people in these communities, I hope to explore the question of what justice looks like when it’s in the hands of the people and rather than in the hands of the state,” she says.

Lewis-Norelle, a Peace and Global Studies major and Sociology and Anthropology minor from Madison, Wis., credits professors Joanna Swanger, JoAnn Martin and James Logan for unlocking her interest in restorative justice and community organizing.

“They have had a huge impact on my Earlham experience and have provided a really strong framework for how I could think about these issues and discover what’s important to me,” she says.        

Earlhamites have long been strong candidates for some of the most prestigious scholarships available to undergraduates in the United States, including the Watson, Fulbright and Rhodes.

Lewis-Norelle is the 13th Earlhamite to earn a Watson Fellowship in the last 12 years.

RELATED: Earlham again earns status as one of the nation's top-producing Fulbright institutions

"Imani's project clearly reflects her beliefs and values, as well as her strong desire to understand what justice means in many contexts,” says Jennifer Seely, associate professor of Politics and the faculty liaison for the Watson Fellowship. “Her ability to relate to others as a journalist and storyteller will be invaluable during her Watson year."

Earlham’s success in preparing students for awards like the Watson is indicative of the College’s focus on helping students connect their academic interests with opportunities to create positive change in the world. Earlham has bolstered its commitment in this area with a major initiative known as EPIC that brings together classroom learning, immersive experiences outside the classroom and enhanced advising throughout the four years of college.

Two other Earlhamites were finalists in this year’s program, including Kristina Brunner ’17 and Amirah Fadhlina ’17.

Since 1968, the Watson Fellowship Program, named for the late founder of IBM, has granted more than 2,700 Watson Fellowship awards, with stipends totaling more than $29 Million.

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.

 

 
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