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Hi, I’m Brian Pertl, Dean of the Conservatory and Watson Fellow from 1986. I am thrilled to be a part of Lawrence’s Watson Fellowship team. Why?  In short, the Watson changed my life, and I want the Watson to change yours as well!  I spent a year studying the Australian Aboriginal didjeridu, and Tibetan Buddhist sacred music. That year set the stage for a career as an ethnomusicologist, performer, group manager at Microsoft, and now Dean right here back at Lawrence. 

If you are an independent, adventurous, intellectually curious citizen of the world (e.g. a Lawrentian) with an unquenchable desire to pursue your life’s passion, then the Watson is for you.

The competition is stiff, but the rewards are immense! I strongly encourage you to apply. Your Journey starts here!

Applications for 2022-23 are due Tuesday, Sept. 27th at 8 PM. 

Good Luck,

Dean Pertl


Every candidate must contact Dean Pertl before the submission deadline.  He will submit your name to the Watson Foundation and they will send you and application link via email. Please fill out all of the personal information requested on the Watson site. For the initial round you will not need to submit:

  • A headshot
  • Transcript
  • Recommenders
  • Additional Materials

You can submit your initial personal statement and project proposal on the Watson site, but it is not required.  We would prefer it if you send the 1,000 word personal statement and the 1,000 word project proposal as a Word Doc or PDF directly to Dean Pertl via email. 

Who Should Apply?

Explorers, adventurers, and independent, self-motivated scholars who are passionate to follow their dream and excited by the prospect of traveling the world to follow that dream.  A successful Watson is also organized, focused, and driven. They love engaging with the world and all the people in it. A successful candidate also needs to be prepared to overcome adversity.  In a year of independent travels, there will be things that go wrong. A Watson needs to successfully overcome these challenges.  Finally, an applicant needs to be open to change.  Over 90% of Watson Fellows report that the Watson changed their life.  If you fit this description, what are you waiting for, an invitation*?

*Watson Fellows don’t wait for invitations!

Check out all the details here: