Javon Mullings ‘16 Wins Watson Fellowship

Another Wheaton student will be heading off on a journey around the world in order to explore a field of interest with the help of the prestigious Watson Fellowship. Senior and Wheaton College Posse Scholar, Javon Mullings ‘16, will be spending one year studying youth robotics programs in different parts of the world.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship provides a $30,000 grant for a year of international travel in the pursuit of independent study. The grant allows students to create an original project on a subject of personal interest.

Mullings majors in Bioinformatics and Business and Management. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, his interest in robotics began in high school when he joined a robotics competition club. The computer programming and creative problem-solving involved in the club drew him into what has become a passion and has changed his life. He credits his experiences in robotics for changing the way he thinks and approaches problems. He will use the fellowship to explore how communities, as well as individual participants, across the globe are impacted by programs much like the one he participated in in high school.

His travels will take him to Cambodia, India, Ireland, South Africa and Japan. In each place, he will explore the subject by observing and assisting in the activities of youth robotics clubs.

During his time at Wheaton, Mullings has taken part in a plethora of diverse activities. Since his freshman year, he has worked in Professor of Biology Bob Morris’s lab. Here, his expertise in computer analysis are applied towards studying the growth of cilia. His bioinformatics skills have also come in handy for summer internships at Harvard and Cornell research labs. Outside of the classroom and the lab, Mullings has taken part in theatre, worked as a resident advisor and competing as a sprinter on the track and field team.

His long-term goal for the future is to work in the pharmaceutical industry and to work towards eliminating economic barriers to drug development. Recently, he presented his plan to do so at a social entrepreneurship event Wheaton held in the fall.

The next year will bring Mullings’s experiences in robotics full circle, from joining a club in high school for the purpose of improving his college application to traveling the world studying robotics clubs the year following his college graduations. While he acknowledges that spending a year studying in different countries will be a challenge, he looks forward to the unique learning experience it will provide.