Sophomore Raquel Merino is the latest person to join a list of Brooklyn College students who have won the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, a three-year experience that will afford them valuable mentoring and internships in various disciplines, including one that will take place abroad, in addition to nearly $20,000 in stipends.

Merino, a psychology major and a member of the Scholars Program at Brooklyn College, says she set her sights on the fellowship when she learned about the international internship and spoke with other Brooklyn College fellows who related their experiences working at top companies and foundations. She’s still pinching herself.

“When I first entered college, I never thought I would be a scholar of anything,” says the Brooklyn native whose parents are from El Salvador. “I’m really proud of myself.”

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation, which funds and administers the fellowship, has partnered with some of the leading corporate, non-profit, and government organizations to pair the students with a diverse array of internship experiences. The fellows are selected from among 12 New York City colleges and universities and are nominated by their school. They also participate in weekly summer seminars and cultural events, and receive mentoring from industry professionals and the fellowship’s older students and alumni.

Merino would like to earn a master’s degree in organizational behavior or marketing, yet hasn’t quite mapped out her career plan—something her fellowship is likely to help her do. This summer, her first Watson internship will be in Manhattan, either at a marketing and advertising agency or at a documentary company. When she heads abroad, she’s hoping to go somewhere in Europe.

“The possibilities are endless,” she says. “It’s overwhelming in a good way.”

As the child of immigrants, Merino—a peer mentor—says she has been taught to take advantage of every break that comes her way. “Opportunities like this fellowship are the reason why my parents came to this country,” she says.

The fellowship program was founded in 1999 to honor the wife of Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM. This year, 12 of the 15 fellows are CUNY students. Fellows are represented in America’s top graduate programs across many disciplines, including law, medicine, public policy, business, and the arts.