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Danielle BennettDanielle Bennett

Bennett Wins Fellowship for Worldwide Adventure

Danielle Bennett, a senior biology major from Susanville, Calif., has been granted a Watson Fellowship for 2005-2006 that will take her to exotic locales around the world.

Bennett will use her $31,000 Watson fellowship to travel to seven different countries, including Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Spain and Argentina. She plans to examine the relationship between horses and humans and how they communicate. She'll meet with master horseman to explore regional variations in handling horses and study horses in different regions to help unravel questions about evolutionary differences between breeds.

Danielle is the fourth Willamette student to receive a Watson fellowship since 2002. Up to 50 schools are allowed to nominate students and 50 fellowships are awarded each year. This year, 184 students interviewed for the coveted awards.

Bennett's journey will allow her to combine her lifelong passion for horses, her interest in biology and her love of travel. "During in my sophomore year, I studied in Tanzania and visited China for a month, which sparked my interest in travel," says Bennett, who comes from a well-known family of Lassen County horsemen. "I'm interested in wildlife ecology and this trip will allow me to explore evolutionary questions and study how horses and people communicate in different parts of the world. I want to record the lives of master horsemen and look at their techniques in dealing with horses. I'm also interested in see how people around the world care for horses' feet and hooves."

Bennett will leave for her trip on July 31. She will marry her fiancé Ray Harris, a 2004 Willamette University graduate, the day before and they will make the journey together. Bennett and Harris both plan to enroll in graduate school when they return.