Cambridge University student Kirsten Van Fossen has been announced as the 2015 winner of the Parmigiani Spirit Award, the annual accolade handed out by the watchmaker in conjunction with the International Rowing Federation (FISA).
The award recognises university rowers worldwide who demonstrate the “core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life and, through those values, also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people’s lives”.
These five core values are “teamwork, fairness, natural, inclusive and enduring”.
The 25-year-old American first studied engineering at Harvard before earning a fellowship to pursue water engineering research at the University of São Paulo, where she completed a master’s thesis on “Point of Use Drinking Water Purification.”
Before moving to Britain, she also spent time in São Paulo working at the International Reference Centre on Water Reuse contributing to a water reuse project which looked at finding a solution to water quality and scarcity issues.
As a rower, Van Fossen has also excelled, competing for United States at the 2008 World Junior Championships, before becoming women’s team captain at Harvard.
She was a member of the Cambridge lightweight women’s eight in 2015.
“I am currently in the US for my research, but what great news to receive in the days leading up to the Head of the Charles regatta,” she said.
“I am overwhelmed with happiness to have been selected as the winner.”
Now in its third year, Van Fossen becomes the first female winner of the award after Britain James Cook, who combined an international rowing career with studies and charity work, and Germany’s Franz Gravenhorst, a doctorate student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
She will receive a hand-crafted Parmigiani Fleurier watch, while her club receives a custom-built, top-of-the range Filippi eight racing shell.
“There is no doubt that Kirsten is an inspiration to her peers,” said FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland.
“She excels both on the water and academically as well as demonstrating a social consciousness in her study choices.
“Kirsten demonstrates the values of the sport of rowing as exemplified by the Parmigiani Spirit Award.”
By Nick Butler, Monday, 19 October 2015
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz.