External Studies and International Programs
The Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology in Costa Rica is busier than a leaf-cutter ant colony after the rainy season. The first group of Pitzer students and faculty (Professors Donald McFarlane and Cheryl Baduini) are on site exploring the flora, fauna, topography and waterways of the property through their tropical ecology course. Having completed a month of intensive Spanish training at the Institute for Costa Rican Language and Culture near San Jose, students are fluently using their Spanish with their rural host families and local community members in the Dominical/Baru area. Professors Paul Faulstich and Melinda Herrold-Menzies will be traveling to Costa Rica to deliver the new human ecology course, including research around the numerous petroglyphs on the property. Taking advantage of the beautiful forest of construction-quality bamboo at the Center, Paul Faulstich is also incorporating a design project for building a bamboo teaching facility at the Center as part of his Community, Environment and Design course this fall at Pitzer. His students will be assisted by Bay Area architect Darrel DeBoer, who specializes in designing and constructing with bamboo. This summer the Firestone Center opened its doors as a biological field station to visiting faculty and students in biology from Wofford College and the University of Washington.
As part of the College’s Global Comparative Urban Studies Initiative funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the directors of Pitzer’s External Studies programs in Botswana, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy and Nepal/Darjeeling visited the College during the Fall 2005 semester. They made presentations on key urban issues in their countries and independent research projects students may conduct there to explore global themes, such as rural to urban migration, public health, environment, immigration, populations in diaspora, human rights, and technology. Current directors include Franca Mora Feboli (Italy), Maria Lubensky (Ecuador), Daniso Mogwathi (Botswana), Margaret Donahue (Nepal/Darjeeling), Xiaomei Wang (China) and Isabel Arguello (Costa Rica). Student research findings from abroad were showcased at Pitzer’s second annual International Undergraduate Research Symposium held November 11, 2005, in conjunction with On-Campus Day.
Inspired by their experiences abroad and the success of students in previous years, Pitzer students this fall have submitted the largest number of applications for post-graduate fellowships abroad in the history of the College with 49 submissions to the Fulbright Commission and 32 applications for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Nigel Boyle, Jim Lehman and Carol Brandt, who serve as the faculty advisers for these fellowships, believe the outstanding quality of the student thinking and writing in this latest harvest of applications portends a new level of success for actual fellowships won.
Pitzer has added a new exchange program in Japan with Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan, one of Japan’s most selective universities. Beginning in Fall 2006, Pitzer students may spend a semester or year pursuing East Asian Studies and Japanese language courses, while enjoying a home-stay with a Japanese family and the possibility of doing independent research projects. Kwansei Gakuin students will come to Pitzer for a similarly immersive study abroad period. This academic year, Pitzer welcomes international and exchange students to the campus from Austria, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
—Carol Brandt, Vice President, International Programs