Anson Stewart '10 Wins Watson Fellowship
by Alisa Giardinelli
Anson Stewart '10, an engineering and urban studies major from Irvine, Calif., is the recipient of a 2010-11 Watson Fellowship, one of just 40 college seniors in the country to receive this honor. As a Watson Fellow, he will receive $25,000 for a full year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States.
With a project titled "School Bus Migrations," Stewart plans to visit Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa to explore the use of buses purchased used from the United States and Europe. His hope, he says, is "to achieve a deeper understanding of how the reuse of these vehicles relates to personal mobility, urban form, global sustainability, and environmental justice."During the spring break of his sophomore year, Stewart, a Lang Scholar at Swarthmore, traveled with fellow students to Nicaragua as part of the partnership between Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and a community development group in Matagalpa. "One of the most striking parts of the trip for me was the practice of relying on old school buses from the United States for public transportation," he says. "This practice became the focus of my Watson proposal because it evokes the questions that have become the core of my pursuits at Swarthmore."
Personal mobility and urban form are important areas of research in Stewart's urban studies thesis, and his engineering senior design project examines pollution reduction for school buses. "Most importantly, my Lang Opportunity Scholarship [LOS] has given me the opportunity to explore environmental justice and its relationship to transportation," says Stewart. "Many of the questions I hope to answer in my Watson year come from my LOS-supported internship with the T Riders Union and the insights of the youth participants in my LOS project, greenRELAY." The latter seeks to centralize and aggregate information about environmental justice community-based organizations in Los Angeles and across the country.