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Siri Undlin '13 Wins Watson Fellowship

Colorado College senior Siri Undlin, a Creative Writing major and Anthropology minor from Edina, Minn., has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for her project, “The Music in Our Stories.”

Siri Undlin '13 Wins Watson Fellowship

Colorado College senior Siri Undlin, a Creative Writing major and Anthropology minor from Edina, Minn., has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for her project, “The Music in Our Stories.”

The fellowship will allow Undlin to travel to Ireland, Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Faroe Islands, a region where soaring melodies and fantastical tales capture the intensity of the human experience and simultaneously transcend it. Undlin will explore the way in which people have, and continue to use, music to share their stories in the midst of geographical isolation, harsh weather, political strife, and ever-growing global interconnection.

“As I travel, I will pay close attention to common threads and reoccurring themes within the stories and songs and compare the Nordic and Celtic traditions of storytelling through music. By learning to listen, tell, sing and play the songs and stories from this part of the world, I will catch glimpses of magic within these cultures and landscapes and better understand how these stories and songs inspire a resilient ability to survive,” Undlin said.

Always thrilled by the intensity of connections created between people through narrative and music, Undlin has been writing lyrics, songs, and fairytales since the age of 7, with her three younger siblings as her original audience. She has performed with an array of musical groups that include Irish, orchestral, bluegrass, Balinese gamelan, and a cappella.

This year more than 700 candidates applied for a Watson Fellowship; of them, 148 finalists were nominated to compete on the national level and 40 were awarded fellowships. The winners come from eight countries and 14 states, and will traverse 75 countries exploring topics from coastal disasters to synthetic biology; from music therapy to the ethics of extinction; from digital landscapes to the global shark trade.

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