TWO HAVERFORD COLLEGE SENIORS AWARDED WATSON FELLOWSHIPS
Kira Intrator '05, of Ferney-Voltaire, France, and Chris Kingsley '05, of Portland, Me., have been awarded Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2005-2006. The fellowships provide funding for one year of independent study and travel outside the United States. Participating institutions, of which there are 49, may nominate four candidates each year. The most recent year in which Haverford had two Watsons was 2001. In all, 50 college seniors across the country were chosen for Watson Fellowships this year.
Kira Intrator will be studying indigenous musical formsâ€”specifically classical Islamic and Hindustani vocal techniquesâ€”in Egypt, Turkey, and India. She wants to incorporate these techniques with jazz singing, her main passion.“The tones are more delicate and subtle, and singers use vocal trills and half-notes that aren't heard in Western music,” she says.“It will be amazing to apply this sound to my jazz singing.”
Intrator's father is a jazz violinist, so the genre, she says,“permeated every crevice of my house” growing up:“I was singing Billie Holiday songs at age five.”
Her fascination with multicultural music was stoked during the summer following her sophomore year, when she used a Kessinger Family Fund grant to travel to Morocco.“I was always interested in Islam and its culture,” she says,“not just what I read in books, but its everyday life.” While abroad, she attended music festivals and was awed by the blending of Moroccan music with that of other countries such as Senegal.
During the second semester of her junior year, she took a break from Haverford and went to Boston, where she took jazz singing lessons at Berklee College of Music and audited a course at Harvard focusing on ethnomusicology through Islamic music. She was shown raw footage of Islamic music festivals and knew then and there that someday she would witness them in person.
“Music is a way for me to discover myself, and also to delve into another culture,” she says.“It gives me a true taste of that way of life.”
Chris Kingsley, a Growth and Structure of Cities major (at Bryn Mawr) will be traveling to South Africa, India, and Hong Kong to study the public rationale for Internet usage. Aside from Canada, Kingsley has never been outside the U.S.
Internet access is a theme Kingsley explored in his senior thesis on“Wireless Philadelphia,” a project being pursued by Mayor John Street's administration. Announced in August 2004, the initiative would provide free wireless access for anyone within the city limits (135 square miles) within two years.“It's a very interesting concept because everyone needs connectivity,” Kingsley says,“and it brings up issues of e-government and how cities are run.”
It also brings up issues of socioeconomic disparity and access to public resources. Kingsley took off four years before attending Haverford and lived in Florida, North Carolina, and Chicagoâ€”and witnessed some startlingly hollow inner-city neighborhoods. In Philadelphia, he has been able to draw parallels to that experience.“In Rittenhouse Square you will have people taking advantage of wireless access,” he explains,“and in West Philly you'll be hard pressed in some neighborhoods to find a computer.” Similarly, Kingsley had taken an interest in Johannesburg, where some impressive, progressive projects are underway, as compared to nearby Soweto,“where you'd be lucky to find running water.”
In addition to technological disparities, Kingsley has witnessed the poverty, despair, and racial divisivenessâ€”as well as the drugs and violenceâ€”that beset many inner-city communities. At Haverford, he has found the kind of community he'd like to explore and foster elsewhere in the world.“I just love the public spirit of Haverford,” he says.