Pitzer Spotlights

2006-2007 Spotlight Archives

Lolly Beck Pancer ’08 and Springsong Cooper ’09
Recipients of Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships

Lolly Beck Pancer ’08 and Springsong Cooper ’09 have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for Fall 2007. Beck Pancer received a $5,000 scholarship to pursue the School for International Training (SIT) program on Public Health and Community Welfare in Salvador, Brazil. Cooper will study on the Pitzer in Darjeeling - Nepali Studies program in Kalimpong, India, with the support of a $4,500 scholarship.

Lolly Beck Pancer
Lolly Beck Pancer '08

While in Brazil Beck Pancer is considering researching maternal health, in particular she would like to compare access to and quality of pre- and post-natal care for single and married women living in the city of Salvador versus rural villages.

She believes all human beings are part of a single world community and the artificial border lines that separate us should not divide us. “I will live this philosophy with my homestay families by developing personal connections and opening my mind and my heart to learn from them and see the world from their point of view,” Beck Pancer said. “I will work alongside disadvantaged communities to develop the agency necessary for them to affect the positive change they wish to see as opposed to implementing what an outsider would view as helpful.”

Beck Pancer has created a self-designed major in Global Health and Social Justice at Pitzer and is minoring in Spanish. Her involvement at Pitzer is far-ranging—she is a Student Senate member on the Residential Life and Learning Committee; she worked at the Grove House Café; she created curriculum and helped with vision exams in a rural village in Peru; she tutors children from immigrant families in Azusa; she leads camping trips with Pitzer Outdoor Adventures; and she spent her last winter break gutting houses in New Orleans as part of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Springsong Cooper
Springsong Cooper '09

Cooper is an International and Intercultural Studies major with a strong interest in conflict resolution. As part of the Pitzer in Darjeeling program she will be completing the core course in regional Nepal Studies as well as intensive Nepali language studies. She is considering an exploration of Hinduism and the caste system as part of her directed independent study project.

"While studying abroad, I feel it is necessary to jump wholeheartedly into a new culture and to accept that one may have to step out of his/her comfort zone,” Cooper noted. “Uncomfortable experiences of unfamiliarity are good for personal development and allow one to gain a more thorough understanding of new cultures. This can be an intimidating experience but is always rewarding and enriching in the end,” she continued.

Cooper is a land steward in Pitzer’s organic garden, like Beck Pancer she volunteered with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and she has been very involved with the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL). She spent five weeks in Malawi, Africa, providing HIV/AIDS education to primary school children through the World Camp for Kids program. A former full-time volunteer literacy tutor with Americorps, Cooper is also certified as an advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault agency.

—Emily Cavalcanti

About the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers a competition for awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. The program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

The Gilman International Scholarship has to date made awards to 3,102 U.S. undergraduate students. There were 1,422 applicants for Fall 2007 scholarships and 420 awards were made in varying amounts with $5000 being the maximum award. Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being $4,000. These scholarships have enabled recipients to study worldwide in over eighty different nations. Past Gilman Scholars have gone on to receive many prestigious awards including Fulbright Scholarships and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships to pursue graduate work and research abroad; are working overseas in a variety of capacities; are pursuing graduate study within the U.S. and are working in their chosen professional careers.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this congressionally funded program is administered by the Institute of International Education.