This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolio series.

As I explained in a recent article, I look for dividends as a way to play stocks. Ideally, I'm looking for the dividend as a catalyst to fuel stock price growth. So with that, here are three dividend stocks I'm following and that you can follow, too, using our free Watchlist service.

1. Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR)
I've highlighted Frontier as one of the best dividend stocks for 2011, as the company consolidates operations that it acquired from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) last year. While the stock has taken a hit after the most recent earnings release because of consolidation difficulties, the stock still sports its 9.3% yield while we wait for the company to integrate operations. That yield is still notably higher than key wireline competitors Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) at 8% and 7.3%, respectively. I expect that yield gap to close in Frontier's favor as the year progresses and as the company realizes cost savings. I'll keep the dividend while I wait since I own shares in Frontier.

2. Vodafone (NYSE: VOD)
Investors in Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) may like the company's 7.9% yield, but there's another global telecom player -- Vodafone -- whose price may not yet fully reflect a big dividend infusion. Vodafone pays 4.7% and has a more specific catalyst than just its huge yield. The company owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with Verizon. Verizon Wireless has nearly finished paying down its debt, leaving the JV the ability to pay out dividends to co-owners Verizon and Vodafone. Some analysts speculate that Vodafone might sell its JV stake, simply collect the dividends, or even merge with Verizon. Each of those moves could unlock value in Vodafone. If Verizon Wireless begins paying dividends, that would be cash that Vodafone could spin out to shareholders. Hedge-fund superstar David Einhorn already owns a stake in this U.K. wireless giant. In addition, Vodafone is busy cleaning up its portfolio with its recent sale of its stake in SFR to Vivendi for about $11.3 billion, as fellow Fool Dan Dzombak explains.

3. Seaspan (NYSE: SSW)
As I detailed in my recent Rising Star buy recommendation, Seaspan has a key catalyst to its share price: its progressive dividend policy that promises to rapidly ramp the company's payout. The company recently bumped up its dividend by 50%, and I think we have plenty more such increase on the horizon. This owner and operator of containerships should benefit from the normalization of trade between the U.S. and Asia. In the next year, it will finish the build-out of its fleet of ships, and then we should really see cash flow soar. That cash flow should translate into a steadily growing dividend.

So add the three dividend stocks above to your watchlist, and take a look at 13 other dividend stocks in a free report from the Motley Fool called "13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today." Hundreds of thousands have requested access to this special free report and now you can access it today at no cost. To get instant access to the names of these 13 high yielders, simply click here -- it's free.

Interested in these stocks or have another stock to share? Join me on my discussion board and follow me on Twitter (@TMFRoyal).

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolio series, where we give some of our most promising stock analysts cold, hard cash to manage on the Fool's behalf. We'd like you to track our performance and benefit from these real-money, real-time free stock picks. See all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios) here.

Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares of Frontier and Vodafone. Vodafone is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a written covered straddle position on Seaspan. The Fool owns shares of Seaspan and Telefonica. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.