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Senior is finalist for Mellon Fellowship

ATHENS, Ohio (March 18, 2005) -- Ohio University senior Mark Watson of Rockbridge, Ohio, is one of 147 finalists for an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.

Watson is a McNair Scholar who is pursuing bachelor's degrees in both painting and art history. He works as a curatorial assistant at Ohio University's Kennedy Museum and has received honors for some of his artwork. His particular area of interest is cultural theory as it relates to non-dominant cultures. His senior thesis is based on the influence of cultural conditions on the art of Native Americans in Santa Fe, N.M., during the 1930s. He also is a past recipient of a grant from the Ohio University Provost's Undergraduate Research Fund.

"Advancing to this stage is a testament to the excellent preparation provided by the Ohio University School of Art, probably the most underrated school at the university," Watson said. "I would attribute a large part of my success this far to Tom Patin, professor of theory and criticism, who from the start of my undergraduate years encouraged me to study difficult theoretical material that really helped put me ahead of the competition at most schools. I was also fortunate to have other excellent faculty members in art history and painting who encouraged me to think and ask questions. I also think my colleagues throughout the School of Art were of unusual quality; I enjoyed the challenge they provided in terms of creative thinking."

Watson plans on attending graduate school in the state of New York at either Columbia University or the University of Rochester. His mentors are Patin and Jennifer McLerran, curator at the Kennedy Museum of Art.

"Mark is one of those students who makes you see your own discipline in a different way," said Patin. "He's insightful."

Approximately 90 students will be awarded fellowships in early April. The winners will receive financial support covering full tuition and fees for their first year of graduate study at any United States or Canadian graduate school, plus a $17,500 stipend. The competition began with a pool of 625 eligible candidates, which was later reduced to 281 semifinalists.

Mellon Fellowships are designed to assist outstanding students and encourage them to join the humanities faculties of American colleges and universities. More than 2,000 fellowships have been awarded since the competition began in 1982.

"Mark has remarkable intellect and extraordinary accomplishments," Director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards Ann Brown said. "He is most deserving of this honor."

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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