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Studying Abroad Delivers Results

Bravissimo, studenti! Of Pitzer’s record-breaking number of Fulbright winners this year, 87 percent participated in Study Abroad. All of our Watson, Coro, and Rotary award winners studied abroad. Goals regarding interdisciplinary study, intercultural understanding, diversity and equal access to study abroad opportunities can remain mere rhetoric elsewhere, but Pitzer has delivered.

Pitzer’s Study Abroad programs have provided wide access to powerful, cultural-immersion experiences. Nine awardees were on five Pitzer programs: four in Costa Rica (Sabrina Dence ’06, Yvonne Hong ’05, Michelle Swanson Lightfoot ’06 and Rainbow Chung ’06), two in Ecuador (Bianca Barragan ’06 and Patrick Leue ’06), two in Nepal/Darjeeling (Veronica Briggs ’02 and Michelle Swanson ’06), one in Italy (Alex Page ’06) and one in the Pitzer program in Turkey (Yvonne Hong ’05). Two were on a Pitzer exchange (Chris Burwick ’06 and Kathleen Brooks ’06 in Germany). One undertook an overseas research project with a Pitzer professor (Blair McGregor ’06 in China/Russia). Three were on non-Pitzer programs (Kate Sherwood ’06 in Spain, Raumene Rahatzad ’06 in Jordan and Traci Kutaka ’06 in England).

Altogether, of the 16 awardees, 11 had immersion/homestays, 13 studied a foreign language abroad, and 11 did an independent study or internship for credit. The winners also represent a diversity of students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad and in Fulbright competitions: students of color, non-traditionally aged (New Resources) students, science majors, recent alumni and males. Intercultural understanding and social responsibility in action!

Elise Carlson ’03, a Fulbright fellow to Turkey, is now a Foreign Affairs Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor covering nine Middle Eastern countries. In a recent e-mail to Study Abroad, she said, “I am convinced that I got my job almost solely on the basis of my experience in Pitzer in Turkey and my Fulbright project with the Kurdish people.”

—Carol Brandt, Vice President, International Programs

Costa Rica House
The Ecology Center at the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology in Costa Rica opened in June.

Bamboo cropBamboo construction has been completed on two projects designed to showcase the use of bamboo as an innovative, sustainably produced building material at the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology in Costa Rica. The teaching pavilion is an open-sided design by architect Darrel DeBoer of San Francisco in collaboration with master bamboo builder Martin Coto of Costa Rica. It occupies the ridge top, ocean-view site on the property. The project employed a large number of 10 meter (40 foot) bamboo poles grown and harvested on Pitzer’s property and was assembled by a group of U.S. and Costa Rican volunteers together with Pitzer’s Spring 2006 External Studies Semester in Costa Rica students and our full-time Firestone Center Reserve employees. The construction of an observation tower, designed by volunteer Jo Scheer, is pictured at left. It overlooks the banana grove, bamboo forest, and mountain range across the valley from our property.