Congratulations to Murphy Scholar Savannah Wiegel '21 for being named to the 53rd class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows! Savannah’s project, “Healing Words: Building Community Health through Narrative Medicine” will take her to Ireland, Switzerland, Japan, Guatemala, and Argentina, where she will explore the intersection of storytelling and medicine to inform public health initiatives.
The Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study outside the United States, awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 41 partner colleges. Wiegel is the 38th Hendrix student to receive a Watson Fellowship.
Wiegel heard about the Watson Fellowship from Hendrix nominee Kaersti McLellan ’19, while they both participated in the group Odyssey project “Exploring Aspects of the Nicaraguan Healthcare System.” Their experience included traveling to Nicaragua to learn about how kidney transplants are conducted there. “Being in that global setting helped me realize my dream to become a Watson Fellow,” she said.
When Wiegel’s interest in narrative medicine began, she viewed it primarily on the individual level: the importance of telling and understanding experiences and emotions shared in one-on-one patient interactions. “It wasn’t until halfway through my junior year that I saw the potential narrative could have in public health, especially in the context of a pandemic,” she said. “I knew I wanted to find a way to intertwine my passions for narrative medicine, science communication, and public health, and I’m so honored to be able to pursue my dream in a global context.”
Reposted from @hendrixcollege