Labors of Love: Behind the Scenes of the Spring 2015 Preview Pitzer Program

What is the cost of the Preview Pitzer Program? There’s no amount in American dollars (that I can disclose here at least) that can cover the true cost of Pitzer College’s biannual Preview Pitzer Program. We, the program’s coordinators, interns and support staff, pay for the program in time and sleep more than any monetary metric can measure, but it’s worth every last Z and waking moment spent. No matter how many we’ve experienced, the night before every program – Christmas Eve if you will – butterflies still fill our stomachs. I experienced the same sensation as a participant four years prior, but I never thought the feeling would last.

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Planning commences early – almost immediately following the close of the previous program. Tasks are divided up between Diversity Interns old and new, outgoing and incoming. Sometimes we take turns swapping tasks; matching students with classes, host recruitment, off-campus activity coordination, affinity group planning, snack-buying, snack-eating, etc. Most times we focus on a few of our favorite things. For example, the class-matching torch was passed down to me, and I will hand off the flame once I graduate (hopefully). When Christmas morning finally arrives, I can’t help but shower newly arrived prospective or admitted participants with inquiries about their classes all the while not caring what their perplexed, and maybe a bit terrified, expressions reveal: these expressions might say “Why are you so excited?” or hint “She needs to chill out on the free coffee.” The latter is probably true, and the former is because we all feel like Santa Claus on Preview Pitzer Program weekend, or at the very least Oprah back in the early 2000s when she hosted her annual “Favorite Things” episodes: “You get a class!” It is truly magical when a bunch of aggregated data on Excel sheets comes to life as a fully-functioning program, but like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any annual occasion where gift-giving stakes are high, there are inevitable fails.

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Due to a lack of knowledge of industrial landscapes, I had no idea what a smokestack was, so when I was given a task to set up camp on Huntington Beach, my failure to properly identify these mythical “smokestacks” resulted in 40 participants and coordinators walking more than a mile against the wind to find my bonfire. Most recently, an unprecedented change in In N’ Out’s credit card protocol resulted in fries and burgers served up “fresh” at two different locations. The Preview Pitzer Program is well-practiced, but always full of surprises. The Program staff has learned to expect the unexpected, and each straggler for the 5 am Saturday morning trip back to the airport, premature exit off the freeway, or temporarily missing participant (we always get them back), only makes our relationships with each other and the program as a whole, stronger.

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Kepa Barrett Diversity InternKepa Barrett ‘17, a fellow Diversity Intern eloquently describes the loving spirit of Program coordination efforts:

“The Diversity Team puts countless hours of work into making the program successful for our students. We do it in the name of love!”

DSC_5100Mattie Ross ‘12, Assistant Director of Admission and Head Coordinator of the Preview Pitzer Program, had this to say about our labors of love behind-the-scenes:

“There is nothing more rewarding to me than ensuring equity and access in Pitzer’s admission process…There is a lot of planning that goes into the whole event, but it’s all worth it once students are on campus. I loved watching who chose to enroll and become a future Sagehen! Chirp!”

11202957_492879530861825_1520463751832842233_nNatalie ‘17, one of the newest additions to the Preview Pitzer Program team, is appreciative of the unique opportunity to meet future peers through the Program’s work:

This was my first time being involved with the Preview Pitzer Program and I had a really great time working with the other interns, as well as the Admission Staff…It was really amazing to have the opportunity to meet my potential future classmates. Everyone brought their own element to the program.

Sure we get paid, but money is ephemeral. We do it for the participants who we see a bit of ourselves in, to work toward an increase in the number of multi-everything, not just multi-ethnic, individuals with unique perspectives within our community, and of course, for the love of each other – our ever-expanding Preview Pitzer Program family.


Posted by Kara Powell ’15, Media Studies and Organizational Studies

Kara Powell Diversity Intern

Why We Chose Pitzer

Maybe you’ve already submitted your deposit, checked the box that says “Yes, I will be attending (fill in awesome college here)!”, and decked out your room and wardrobe with the big block letters representing the place you will call home for the next 4 years.

Or maybe you’re still deciding. Maybe it’s coming down to the wire (that dreadful May 1 deadline is quickly approaching), and you are being pushed to make what seems like the biggest decision of your life. Should I choose the big school far from home with amazing research facilities? Should I go for the place that I stayed at last summer for that amazing summer camp? What about my parent’s alma mater that they are really pushing for? If you are in a place where you need to make this decision, I must tell you, that is a wonderful place to be. I mean it sucks and is super stressful, but hey, at least you get to make the choice!

So congratulations. If you were admitted to Pitzer College for the Class of 2019, that means we would love to see you on campus in the fall. We think you are the next agents of change to enter the world and make an immense impact. I asked some students currently attending Pitzer (and at this moment really in the thick of things before finals) to tell me why they chose Pitzer in the end. It was a piece of cake for some to answer, but others did not hesitate to take their time and really reflect. I am hoping their words help you in your decision-making process. Of course, each answer is specific to that student’s situation, but perhaps you can relate.


“When visiting Pitzer for ASD, against my 17 year old will, I found myself one night completely engulfed in a conversation exploring the intersection of love and existentialism. Three Pitzer seniors were passionately engaged in figuring out how the two coalesced and they wanted my ideas. I chose Pitzer because that conversation demonstrated a Pitzer student’s capacity to pursue knowledge outside of the classroom for knowledge’s sake. I chose Pitzer because that conversation demonstrated the passion and commitment to community building that I longed for in an institution.”

– Briana Stansbury ’15


“From the moment I found out about Pitzer College, I instantly fell in love with the campus, academics, and its different approach to higher education—it became my dream school. I chose Pitzer because I wanted to be surrounded by a group of students and faculty who were passionate about social justice and were willing to support me in every possible way. I never liked the idea of attending a large University where students did not have the opportunity to interact with their professors…even in my first-year at Pitzer I have had the pleasure of establishing strong relationships with my professors.”

– Adriana Ceron ’18

Nice job! You found the hidden message.


“I was sold on the supportive community of Pitzer. Being a first gen student, I felt like I needed to be somewhere where I would feel comfortable and not be afraid to share my story. The consortium aspect was another thing that caught my attention when I visited Pitzer for the first time.”

– Andrew Buitron ’15

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

Nice job! You found the hidden message.


“I came to Pitzer because…

of the strong Asian American studies and ethnic studies department.

of the Preview Pitzer Program.

of the emphasis professors had on dialogue in the classroom.”

– Kristen Park ’17


“I chose to attend Pitzer for several reasons. The consortium of schools provides many unique opportunities to take new courses, learn new fields, and customize your own academic program. Combined with the core values and the critically compassionate culture of the campus, Pitzer is a wonderful school with incredible atmosphere, and a great set of opportunities for students to engage in.”

– Loring Thomas ’17

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

carlos 2

“An easy answer is ‘just go to Pitzer College’. When I began my college search, I knew I wanted to be somewhere where people were passionate about examining the ‘ethical implications of knowledge and their individual responsibility in making the world better’ as well as eager to ‘challenge traditional ways of learning.’ I chose to attend Pitzer College because I knew that it was the appropriate place to further expand my horizons – Pitzer students are rather unafraid to display their ambitions. Furthermore, I chose to attend Pitzer because it valued intercultural understanding, much of which is embodied in our exceptional study abroad programs.”

– Carlos Perrett ’18


Casey Venturelli Tour Guide

“I chose Pitzer because my mom kept nudging the core values in my face and trying to convince me it was the right place for me. That sounds a little harsh, but stay with me here. I didn’t believe her at first, convinced I was meant to go far away from home to a school “where I could travel”. Near the end of my decision-making process, I had decided I would move to Scotland, go to university, and be a European traveler. I went back into my journal from that semester, reading back on the past three months of my life. Subconsciously, I had written over and over again that I believed I would end up at Pitzer, and that it seemed like the most ideal place for me. My mind had been telling me different things, but I realized what my decision had to be. I came to Pitzer, finding a student body that I connect with on every level. I have found a place with many different perspectives, and some of the most creative minds I have ever encountered. The way each Pitzer student looks at the world is unique and truly fascinating, teaching me so much both within the classroom, and in every interaction I have. I was attracted to the flexibility in curriculum, leading me to design my own major, and take an interdisciplinary approach to my educational trajectory. I have found my home here, found my passion, and could not be happier that I listened to my mom. You know what they say, ‘Mother knows best’.”

– Casey Venturelli ’16

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

IMG_8028“I’m from Arizona, where the only in-state options are very large universities; however, I wanted a smaller school. I found Pitzer and was immediately drawn in by the core values, which align with my own. When I visited campus, I was amazed by how friendly the students were to me and each other and I wanted to be a part of a community like that. The more I learned about Pitzer – the small class sizes, the professor-student relationships, the campus life, and not to mention the beautiful Southern California weather – the more I wanted to be a student here. I ended up applying Early Decision and the rest is history…”

– Natalie Honan ’17

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

charlie-DSC_2310“I chose Pitzer because of the incredible balance between being a small liberal arts college and having the limitless amount of resources within the Claremont Consortium.  More importantly, I was drawn to how my experience would not only be personalized at Pitzer, but that I would have a say in my education and its sequential outcomes.  As a senior, I am leaving here knowing that the past 4 years, from the small seminar-styled classrooms to the experiential learning programs, is unlike any other college student’s because of Pitzer’s commitment to its students and to the core values.”

– Charlie Yates ’15

Nice job! You found the hidden message.

All of us here at Pitzer College wish you the best in choosing your college. Please let us know if you have any questions at all as you make your decision! We are happy to help.

Posted by Katie Shepherd, Admission Counselor


19 ASD Highlights as described by Pitzer Students


Get it…19 reasons for the Class of 2019…!


For those who made to Admitted Student Day either on April 10 or April 17, you may agree with some or all of these! If you couldn’t make it to campus, hopefully hearing from some current Pitzer students will help provide some insight into why Pitzer might be a great place to call home.



  1. Definitely loved Cecil the Sagehen dancing during the registration and welcome. – Joey ’16
  2. I really enjoyed meeting the new students at lunch! – Jessa ’17
  3. I had a great time talking with prospective parents during the tour I gave. – Jessa ’17
  4. Seeing students relax on our wonderful hammocks was awesome. – Jessa ’17
  5. I enjoyed letting the admitted students get a taste of what each living situation on campus would be like through the residence hall tour. Their amazement by how unique our residence halls are was priceless. – Joey ’16
  6. I loved decking the campus out in orange and white for Admitted Student Day! We had a lot of fun blowing up balloons and prepping for the arrival of all the admits. – Kat ’18IMG_6185
  7. Having lunch with admitted students was enjoyable, especially because of the engaging questions that they asked, and just getting to know many of the people who are going to be joining us on campus next year. – Loring ’17
  8. Being able to introduce students to some of the central features of life at Pitzer, like our dining halls, was fun to do. – Loring ’17
  9. Giving a tour to the students and parents was great. It was interesting to see the different questions that parents and students asked, as we were able to explore different paths than the normal tours, especially with guests who were so engaged with the campus. – Loring ’17
  10. My favorite part of ASD was getting to interact with the admitted students and their eager parents at breakfast when they just arrived. Hearing first impressions of the campus from first time visitors was really fun. – Natalie ’17IMG_8031
  11. It was exciting to sit on a panel in front of parents with curious questions about the student experience at Pitzer. After being asked what I don’t like about Pitzer several times by parents, I still can’t think of an answer to that question. – Josue ’16
  12. I loved watching junior staff members carry many clumps of balloons onto the mounds in a train, one after another. They turned into a dragon of balloons! – Casey ’16
  13. I really liked being one of the first faces the accepted students saw in the morning. I tend to overdue it on the energy, but I felt like I could be as excited as possible to wake up the sleepy students and get them eager for the day. – Casey ’16DSC_5098
  14. Serving on the student panel for Admitted Student day brought flashbacks to when I was a prospective student. It definitely was my favorite portion of the program, partly because it allowed me to honestly answer sincere questions that prospective students had about our social and academic life on our campus. – Carlos ’18
  15. What I loved most about ASD was sitting on the parent/guardian panel and really being able to engage with the people that, often times, have helped grow, sway and influence the students we’ve accepted here at Pitzer. Feeling their second hand excitement for their students is rejuvenating and reminds me, every year, how lucky Pitzer is to have such an involved, excited and passionate community that reaches far beyond just our student body. – Briana ’15
  16. Gotta say I loved dancing next to Cecil! – Alex ’15IMG_7828
  17. I loved hearing all the awesome questions prospective students and parents had to ask on the tours! – Alex ’15
  18. I definitely enjoyed showing off the chicken coop to the next generation of friendly farmers! – Alex ’15
  19. Overall, it was a great day to show a great school to a lot of great admitted students! – Joey ’16




What were some highlights for you? Let us know in the Comments!

Photo Credit: Laurie Babcock and Kristen Park

Posted by Katie Shepherd, Admission Counselor


First Admitted Students on Campus!

Last Friday we hosted the first of two Admitted Student Days on campus. This is a hugely exciting event for us! After months of traveling, interviewing, reading, and deliberating we were excited to finally see some of the fruits of our labor. All admitted students were invited to visit campus either last Friday, or this coming Friday. Below, Megan Dooley ’10 leads an attentive tour.

Meghan's tourIt was a beautiful day in Claremont! Below, Associate Director of Financial AidYvonne Gutierrez-Sandoval speaks with an admitted family in front of our new Gold LEED Certified First Year residence halls.

Yvonne+familyIn the afternoon, Dining With Democracy (our student-coordinated lecture series) was hosting an event called Ayiti (“Haiti” in Creole) on the Mounds. The event included a panel discussion on various social and cultural perspectives on Haiti, a discussion of religion in Haiti, as well as some super fun drumming and dancing! Needless to say, it was a fantastic afternoon for admitted students to see what they have to look forward to.

Haiti dancersMany of us in the Admission Office reserve a moment during this exciting time of year to reflect on all of the applicants who we could not offer admission to. This was an incredibly competitive year at Pitzer, and many capable and qualified applicants were disappointed by the letter they received from us. Looking ahead, we sincerely hope that all students find a place that they are excited to call home for a few years, whether at Pitzer or elsewhere, and we remain thrilled with the students who will be joining us in the fall! Welcome aboard, class of 2014!

Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor


After Early Decision Committee

Yesterday the Admission Committee met all day to discuss our fantastic Early Decision applicants. We had more Early Decision applications than ever this year and it was a pleasure and an honor to read each one. After 6 intense hours around a table, which included much discussion and analysis, our committee reached consensus in order to admit the first students to the class of 2014! For the rest of the week we’ll be preparing and mailing our decision letters.

Some of you will be very happy to see a letter from Pitzer in the mail. Congratulations! Some of you will be disappointed. One of our policies as a committee is to make honest and fair decisions with our Early Decision applicants; we don’t defer or wait-list many students from the Early Decision pool. If we can’t make it happen for an applicant, then we want that person to fall in love with another school. We don’t make these decisions lightly. Each one of us appreciates the time, energy, and emotion that you put into your application.

Our current students are finishing their finals this week, and the Office of Admission is calm today. The sun is shining in Claremont, and the air is mercifully clear. We’ve even got some snow clinging to the peak of Mt. Baldy just north of campus! In true Pitzer fashion, I decided to make an “Orange-person” this morning, rather than a “snow-person.” The impressive results are pictured below.


For all of our Regular Decision applicants, I encourage you to finish and submit the applications by the January 1 deadline. Dramatically waiting for the clock to strike 11:59pm on New Year’s eve to click submit on the Common App will undoubtedly appear to be a terrible decision when your power goes out…your internet glitches…or you forget that you’re not in the Pacific Standard Time zone…or some other catastrophe befalls you, causing your laboriously constructed and manicured application to bounce back at you unceremoniously.
Get the picture? Those of you expecting to make a New Year’s resolution to stop procrastinating should begin that process sooner rather than later.
Done and done!

Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor


May 1

So last Friday was May 1. You know what that means, it was decision day!!!!

For all of you high school seniors, this marks our joint trip through the admissions process (remember this is my first time seeing it all the way through from the other side of the desk). Once you get that card in the mail, which hopefully you have already done, take a moment take a big breath and give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it!

Even though my first cycle is coming to a close it has still been a busy time of the year for me. We just had our two Admitted Student Days, which went very smoothly. Here are some pictures

Peter Nardi our acting President giving the welcoming speech.

PeterAnd here are all the students with their parents.

students at openingTake a look at Sol leading an awesome tour:

Sol's tourAnd we can’t forget two of our blog winners showed up. Jacey came to say hello and offered to give me capoeira lessons next year (don’t forget Jacey, I may take you up on that offer) and Jon Rice also came. He even had the foresight to bring his Cecil with him.

Jon and Cecil 1Aren’t they are great team!

The next week’s Admitted Student Day also coincided with our Spring Preview Pitzer Program. This means I spent the whole week running around making sure everything was ready, but the lack of sleep was worth it and we had an AMAZING time!

On Friday we went to the beach and it was a blast. Check out the pictures from our trip.

Here is my van on the way to the beach. It is a little blurry, but still the best van group EVER (P.S. Don’t worry I didn’t take the picture while driving, Tim took it).

VAnHere we are at the beach:


beach 2

beach 3

Beach 3.5

Beach 4

Beach 5

We also hired 2 new interns for the program, Bryce Coefield and Maricela Ledezma. I don’t have a picture of Maricela with me, but here is a picture of Bryce

BryceAfter the Preview Pitzer Program there was no rest for Danny. On Tuesday I hopped onto a plane to New Jersey for Spring College fairs. They were a lot of fun! I haven’t been to NJ before so it was a brand new experience for me. Although I must admit I was less than thrilled with driving in NJ, I don’t like roundabouts.

Overall the fairs were fun. I say overall because my GPS decided to take me the longest roundabout method possible to get me from school to school. I would have to say one of the high points of my fair trips was getting to see Watu Poe one of our admitted students when I visited the Peddie School. I even was able to coerce him into taking a picture with Cecil.

WatuAfter NJ I finally got some downtime and went to visit some friends in New York. This was great because I have only been to NY on one other occasion, and I was sick 2 out of 3 days. This time was much better. I refrained from doing any touristy activity and instead spent time with my friends in Central Park and went to the Tribeca Film festival. Overall I had a great time, but am ready to stay in my own time zone for a while.

Well it is time to get back to reading transfer files, but I wish you all luck with the last few weeks of school before summer.

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy