News Center

Hendrix Senior Receives a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Allison_Monroe_web.JPGCONWAY, Ark. (March 18, 2019) – Allison Monroe ’19, a biology and Spanish double major from Cabot, has been announced as a member of the 51st class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

Her Watson Fellowship project, “Building Agency through Bioliteracy: Modern Insect Conservation,” will take her to Madagascar, South Africa, and Costa Rica as she spends a year pursuing her interest in studying insects and conserving their habitats.

Monroe says she has dreamed about the possibility of a Watson Fellowship since her first year at Hendrix, when Jessa Thurman ’16, a biology student with interests similar to hers, was awarded one to study insects around the world. 

“I’ve continued my studies of insects, ecology, and conservation, but the more I get involved in the scientific world, the more I find myself asking, ‘Why we are not more involved in community concerns?’” Monroe said. “My classes in philosophy, Spanish, and writing have certainly helped me foster my passions for outreach, communication, and agency building, and I am so honored to have the chance to live my dream of combining such diverse interests.”

Monroe’s activities during her four years at Hendrix have reflected her diverse interests. She has pursued her passion for literature and language as a Murphy Scholar since her sophomore year; helps fellow students by tutoring for the Department of Biology; co-founded the Hendrix Naturalist Club; chaired the Environmental Concerns Committee and Campus Sustainability Fund Committee; interned at the Smithsonian and with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission; co-authored two published research papers under lead author Dr. Matthew D. Moran; and worked with Moran and fellow students to write a field guide to the tallgrass prairie.

“On my Watson I will explore the complexities around insect conservation, bioliteracy, and agency. Collaborating with, and volunteering for, scientists around the world, I will learn from local farmers and foresters, teach insect identification and work with children alongside local translators,” Monroe wrote in her project description. “Although the scientific world may seem inaccessible, it can be used to empower people to engage and value the significance of insects within our communities.”

Monroe is the 35th Hendrix student to receive a Watson Fellowship. Read the full list

“I’m delighted, but certainly not surprised, that Allison has received a Watson Fellowship,” said Hendrix College President Bill Tsutsui. “In addition to being a perfect fit for the Watson Foundation’s program, she personifies the ideals set forth in the College’s Statement of Purpose, particularly active learning, sustainable living, and leading a life of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy. I’m eager to see where this year-long journey takes her.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit