Produced by the Department of Media Relations & Publications

Lehman Student Named J.K. Watson Fellow

April 8 2011

Sophia Perlaza

Sophomore Sophia Perlaza has won a coveted spot in the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship program. The three-year program offers paid summer internships, mentoring and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills and commitment to the common good.

Born and raised on Long Island, Perlaza now lives in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx and is interested in pursuing a double major in Italian and political science. Active in student life at the College, she recently championed an increase in the student activity fee in hopes of developing more vibrant extracurricular activities on the campus. She is also an active volunteer in "We Are New York," teaching English to new immigrants, and is considering a career either in the field of law or ESL (English as a Second Language) education.

"Being selected as a Watson Fellow is a tremendous stride toward a better educational and professional future for myself," she said. "This is my opportunity to experiment, my time to see what fits my skills and personality and what doesn't." She says she plans to take advantage of every aspect of the fellowship's offerings in seminars and summer internships to build strong working relationships and to become a better student and leader.

"It's hard to put into words what Watson means to me, because it really does mean so much," says Perlaza. "It means that hard work pays off, and it means that I can achieve anything if I really believe in myself and put my all into something that I want. The Watson Fellowship is the ultimate adventure, and I'm ready for the ride."

Perlaza is a member of the Lehman Scholars Program and is a winner of the Lehman Scholarship and the Department of Languages and Literatures' Tuisiani Scholarship for Excellence in Italian.

Established in 1999 by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the program offers its fellows their pick of coveted job placements over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations and government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings. Perlaza is one of several Lehman students to win this fellowship in recent years.