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Three Baruch College Students Chosen as 2020 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

Baruch College’s 2020 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows (from left to right): Sahiti Kovvuri, Julie Margolin, and Roy Quintuna.Baruch College’s 2020 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows (from left to right): Sahiti Kovvuri, Julie Margolin, and Roy Quintuna.

Baruch College undergraduates Julie Margolin (’23), Roy Quintana (’22), and Sahiti Kovvuri (’23) are among 15 students selected for the highly competitive Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship.

The Watson Fellowship is an innovative three-year program that provides outstanding undergraduates from 12 New York City colleges with personal, professional, and cultural immersions in the U.S. and abroad. Fellows receive paid, 10-week internships for three consecutive summers in any of the following sectors: nonprofit organizations, government service, and private enterprise.

After completing their fellowships, the organization reports that “Many fellows begin their careers and work in their chosen field. Other fellows begin graduate school and still others apply to competitive fellowships to enable deeper immersion in a chosen area, gain leadership skills or go abroad. Watson Fellows have gone on to become leaders in many fields.”

Meet Baruch’s 2020 Watson Fellows

Sahiti Kovvuri: ‘Fellowship offers unique opportunities to work abroad’

Sahiti Kovvuri, a data analytics major with a minor in cultural anthropology, knew she wanted to apply for this program after speaking to a current Watson Fellow from Baruch College, Karishma Malhotra. Malhotra praised the program, saying it offers a “plethora of opportunities that allowed her to perceive her future career in a whole new way.”

“After hearing Karishma and Valeria Hymas, director of Baruch College’s Office of National and Prestigious Fellowships Advising—whose office assisted all three Watson fellows through the applications process—speak about the Watson Fellowship, I was eager to apply because of how close the Fellowship mirrored my goals and how it offered unique opportunities!”

Even though Fellows’ internship placements are still being determined, Kovvuri is looking forward to working with some of Watson’s top-tier partners, such as the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Aspen Institute.

“I am excited to challenge myself in exposure to social justice issues pertaining to public health and immigration reform in ways I have not been able to before,” Kovvuri stated. “Having the amazing platform of the JK Watson Fellowship to aid in my experience with these organizations makes me even more excited to represent the power held within the voice of young people. I am looking forward to my experiences abroad and working on global issues with nonprofits overseas and around the nation.”

Julie Margolin: ‘Transformative experience to see where I belong professionally’

Julie Margolin, a finance major in the Zicklin School of Business who is also part of Macaulay Honors College, was “ecstatic” and “completely in shock” receiving news that she was selected as a 2020 Fellow.

Margolin wants to work for the critically acclaimed series POV, American Documentary, which looks to uncover and broadcast the actual lives of people all over the world. For Margolin, the real-life content is “eye-opening and learning about different experiences is essential to remain open-minded and compassionate.”

Besides POV, Margolin is also looking to work for International Planned Parenthood. This global organization provides marginalized and underserved communities with much-needed female reproductive education and healthcare.  

For Margolin, the Watson Fellowship will help set the path to her professional future, where she can gain experience in a variety of fields to reach long-term career goals.

She added, “I’m hopeful that Watson will be a transformative experience that will push me to think outside the box to become a well-rounded individual and professional.”

Roy Quintuna: ‘Opportunity to disband my socioeconomic limitations’

Upon seeing the word “Congratulations” on the email announcing the Watson Fellowship, Roy Quintuna was in disbelief. He is a first generation student whose parents immigrated to the United States from Ecuador, and is majoring in international business with a concentration in finance.

Although his family did not fully understand this opportunity, Quintuna said they were “overjoyed to the fact that their child accomplished his goal.”

At eight-years-old, Quintuna often accompanied his father—who was a taxi driver—on rides to JFK International Airport. For Quintuna, these trips were inspiration to travel around the world at some point in his life. Now, the Watson Fellowship will provide the first trip of that journey.

Quintuna has interest in working for IBM Watson or the Institute of International Education, two jobs that will lead him towards a career that would “surpass his parents’ aspirations.”

"I see the Watson Fellowship as a way to disband my socioeconomic limitations and as an open opportunity to gain a unique experience to understand my professional aspirations," Quintuna said. "My future career goals include finishing the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program so I can become a pilot and make my eight-year-old self-happy. What I see this Fellowship helping me achieve is to understand who I am as a person and what career I want to pursue after the U.S. Air Force."

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(Story published on 5/19/20)

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