For immediate release
Lausanne, 16 October 2015

The World Rowing Federation (FISA) and Parmigiani Fleurier are delighted to announce Kirsten Van Fossen as the recipient of the 2015 Parmigiani Spirit Award. Van Fossen is a PhD candidate in engineering currently studying at the University of Cambridge in Great Britain.

Van Fossen, 25, from the United States, studied engineering at Harvard University, USA and then earned a fellowship to pursue water engineering research at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. There Van Fossen completed a master’s thesis on 'Point of Use Drinking Water Purification.'  She also spent time in Sao 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 excelled. She began rowing at high school where she was elected team captain and attained a place on the United States junior national team. She competed for the United States at the 2008 World Rowing Junior Championships. Van Fossen continued rowing at Harvard University (called Radcliffe Crew) where she was elected captain of the Radcliffe women's team balancing up to 30 hours of rowing training and club organisation.

She is described by her current coach Rob Baker; "Kirsten is always ready to learn and improve her technique. She makes the very best use of coaching time on the water. Kristen arrived (at Cambridge) fit and ready to go." She was a member of the Cambridge lightweight women’s eight in 2015.

Van Fossen has a proven academic record and while at Harvard, she maintained a high grade point average which helped to earn her the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association's National Scholar Athlete two years running. 

 "Ms Van Fossen is a force for good in our research community and contributes to many people and projects through gifting her time and energy," said Professor Steve Evans, Director of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at University of Cambridge. Van Fossen's research is in how the food industry can be redesigned to deliver health nutrition and improve public health.

On hearing the news of her award win, Van Fossen said, 'I am currently in the US for my research. What great news to receive in the days leading up to the Head of the Charles regatta! I am overwhelmed with happiness to have been selected as the winner."

"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."

The Parmigiani Spirit Award is in its third year and is bestowed annually. It is open through a nomination process to university rowers worldwide who demonstrate the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life. The winner receives a hand-crafted Parmigiani Fleurier watch and the club receives a custom-built, top-of-the range Filippi eight racing shell.

Parmigiani Fleurier is a Swiss watchmaker of unique, hand-crafted timepieces. A common philosophy lies at the basis of the partnership between World Rowing and Parmigiani Fleurier which was forged in 2012. Precision, coordination and elegance are similar qualities that are needed both in the sport of rowing and in the craftsmanship of each unique Parmigiani timepiece.