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CC Senior Wins Watson Fellowship in Year of Tough Competition

Colorado College senior Conor Blanchet has been awarded a Watson Fellowship for his project titled "Prints, Scat, and Sign: The Art of Wildlife Tracking." Blanchet, a biology major and chemistry minor from Waynesboro, Pa., notes in his proposal that as indigenous groups rely less on the art of tracking, this skill has faded from the cultural consciousness. The Watson Fellowship provides for a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States; Blanchet will visit four different ecosystems to examine the modern evolution of tracking. He will travel to South Africa, Ecuador, Australia, and Canada, where he also will study the contrasting role environment plays in shaping the tracks that occupy four major biomes.

Blanchet, who is considering a career in orthopedic or conservation veterinary medicine, received the fellowship despite increased competition. The Thomas J. Watson Foundation announced that economic considerations forced them to cut 10 fellowships this year; thus only 40, and not 50, fellowships were granted. "The fellowships are awarded to college seniors of unusual promise, says Cleveland Johnson, director of the Watson Fellowship Program. "The awards are long-term investments in people, not research."

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