Crys Moosman Receives the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Published: March 15, 2022, by Grinnell College, Office of Communications

Crys Moosman

Crys Moosman, a December 2021 graduate has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2022–2023.   

Moosman is among 42 students selected nationwide from 158 finalists from 41 partner schools to receive the $36,000 fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. The fellowship program offers “college graduates of unusual promise a year of purposeful, independent exploration and international travel to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.” 

Moosman, a December 2021 graduate with a biology major, plans to travel to Iceland, Denmark, Namibia, South Africa, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Australia to study the topic Wildlife Conservation Across Biomes, Boundaries, and People. 

Moosman describes their fellowship year as an opportunity to explore wildlife conservation across biomes, boundaries, and people to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence how and why wildlife conservation does, or does not, take place. Within this, they will explore how conservation varies in different biomes and ecosystems to further understand the threats facing wildlife and what we, as humans, can do to aid in conservation efforts. 

“I’m immensely excited, nervous, and grateful for this opportunity. Exploring wildlife conservation throughout the world will be an incredibly informative, humbling, and wonderful experience that I intend to pursue with enthusiasm and curiosity,” said Moosman. “I’m looking forward to the people, wildlife, and places I will become familiar with, the challenges I will face, and the growth that I will have during my Watson year.” 

Grinnell has partnered with the Watson Fellowship Program since it was established in 1968. With the announcement of this year’s Watson fellows, 83 Grinnell students have received this prestigious award.  

“We congratulate and celebrate with Crys in this honor they have received,” said Ann Landstrom, the College’s assistant dean and director of global fellowships and awards.  

“Watson projects are significant and deeply connected to the person, while explored and shared with others around them,” said Landstrom. “These markers are clearly visible in the rootedness of Crys’s journey and their integrity and compassion to develop relationships and be in community around the globe spanning seven countries and eight biomes.” 

Moosman grew up in Driggs, Idaho, in the Teton Valley, which is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. At a young age, Moosman became an avid bird-watcher and nature enthusiast. They have worked for the National Park Service for four summers, as well as a six-month period in fall 2020 and currently, where they engage in observation and work with wildlife conservation and nature preservation. Moosman spent five weeks on off-campus study in Dunedin, New Zealand, at the University of Otago in spring semester 2020, before they had to return to the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Their study of biology at Grinnell led to two semesters of independent research with biology professor Katherine Jacobson and election to the Biology Student Educational Policy Committee. Moosman led the Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program and was a captain and member of Grinnell’s Women’s Soccer Team. They also worked as a student supervisor in the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center and served as a writing mentor for the Grinnell Writing, Reading, and Speaking Center.  

Moosman shared, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the people — friends, family, and mentors alike — who guided me to this point with their words of wisdom, encouragement, and advice.” Upon completion of the Watson year, Moosman wants to pursue an advanced degree in wildlife ecology and conservation with a specific focus in mammalogy and/or ornithology, with a commitment to engage in local, regional, and global wildlife conservation efforts through research, outreach, and communication.  

The College appreciates the journeys proposed by its 12 candidates this past fall and commends the three other nominees: Makaela Burch, Lithonia, Ga., Building Better Cities: Urban Sustainability and Community Involvement; Emma Stefanacci, Denver, Colo., Myths in Space: Storytelling About the Night Sky; and Elizabeth Zerez, Honolulu, Hawaii, Chinese Diaspora and the Language of Food. “All of these students stepped out of their comfort zone to imagine a journey personally significant and uniquely transformative,” said Landstrom. “I truly appreciate them sharing their passion and interest through a Watson journey.” 

By Ann Landstrom
Ann Landstrom Assistant Dean & Director of Global Fellowships & Awards