Two Lehman Students Named 2025 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

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a photm composite of two women, each is standing in front of a tree smiling.
Kihlah St. Fort (left) and Stefanie Brijmohan (right).

The 2025 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows were announced on March 17, with two Lehman students in the cohort. Kilhah St. Fort and Stefanie Brijmohan, both in the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman, are among 15 college students across New York City to receive the award.

The prestigious fellowship is available to students at 12 public and private institutions, and provides three years of paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational and professional development opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills, and dedication to the common good.

“The new class of Watson Fellows represents the character, convictions and aspirations of America's most inspiring student leaders. We look forward to introducing them to the Watson Community and supporting their personal, professional and cultural growth,” said Chris Kasabach, Watson Foundation executive director.

Fellows gain knowledge of different fields and work environments through internships that change from summer to summer. These experiences, combined with close mentoring throughout the year, help students expand their vision, develop their potential, and build the confidence and perspective to do so for others.

Kihlah St. Fort, a sophomore Africana Studies major, is eager to experience different workplace styles and approaches to social justice issues. “I’m excited to see how people are making change in unconventional ways,” she said. In the future, she hopes to incorporate what she learns with her love of the arts, to help people transform themselves and their communities.

Freshman Stefanie Brijmohan is a pre-nursing major with an interest in research and reproductive health. When it comes to career aspirations, however, she has an open mind, which is why the Watson Fellowship appealed to her.

“What motivated me to apply was feeling undecided as a pre-nursing major. I really wanted the opportunity to explore my interests and try something completely new,” she said. “Watson pushes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to explore myself and my passions.”

The Watson Foundation has an international reach across a wide range of sectors, with over 50 not-for-profit partners that include humanitarian and environment-focused NGOs; community-based social services; arts and media organizations; and elected officials. Over the course of three years, for example, a fellow might intern at Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and The Jane Goodall Institute.

With experiences like these under their belt, along with mentoring and professional development, Watson Fellows frequently go on to attend graduate programs, receive national and international scholarships, and become leaders in their fields.

“It will be amazing to be in a space of like-minded individuals who are just as passionate about figuring out their interests and where it will take them in life, said Brijmohan. “I know we have many cohort events set for us to spend time with one another. Not only will I be making friends, but individuals who I will keep in my network for the rest of my life.”

To date, nine Lehman College students have received Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships. Lehman students interested in applying for the Watson and other scholarships or awards may contact the Office of Prestigious Awards for more information.