Story posted April 30, 2008
Bowdoin College senior Steven Holleran has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to pursue an independent research project outside the United States for one year after graduation.
Holleran, a history major and film studies minor from Carlsbad, Calif., plans to travel to New Zealand, Tonga and Chile for a documentary film project titled, "Fading Into the Blue: Sustainable Fisheries in the South Pacific."
Citing data that forecasts a collapse of all fish stocks by 2048, Holleran plans to investigate sustainable methods for saving the planet's fisheries.
"As expansive as our oceans are, fisheries will not continue to exist if we treat them as inexhaustible resources," said Holleran. "We must motivate people to be stewards. I believe that one of the best ways to spread this message of environmental stewardship is through media."
Holleran says he'll examine the different methods of fishing currently in place to harvest Orange Roughy, Tuna and Patagonia Toothfish, and says the documentary will include interviews and footage from fishing fleets across the South Pacific, existing sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and mariculture farms, commercial fishing practices, subsistence farming and fish markets.
"As big as the oceans seem, their natural resources can no longer meet our global demand," Holleran said.
"America alone is consuming billions of pounds of seafood a year. There are plenty of sustainable solutions out there but they aren't being implemented. Instead we continue to barbarically exploit our oceans. Why? That's what I want to explore."
Holleran is one of 50 college seniors nationally who have received a 2008 Watson Fellowship. Nearly 1,000 students from 50 selective private liberal arts colleges and universities applied for the awards. This year, 175 students competed on the national level, after their institutions nominated them in the autumn. Each fellow receives $25,000 for the year of travel and exploration.
"The awards are long-term investments in people, not research," says Rosemary Macedo, the Executive Director of the Watson Fellowship Program and a former Watson Fellow.
"We look for people likely to lead or innovate in the future and give them extraordinary independence in pursuing their interests. They must have passion, creativity and a feasible plan. The Watson Fellowship affords an unequalled opportunity for global experiential learning."
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program was begun in 1968 by the children of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM Corporation, and his wife, Jeannette K. Watson, to honor their parents' long-standing interest in education and world affairs. The Watson Foundation regards its investment in people as an effective contribution to the global community.