Prelude to Pitzer: Orientation Adventures

A few Pitzer graduates from the class of 2015 who combined to lead 7 Orientation Adventure (OA) trips wanted to share their insights and experiences with the incoming class in order to prepare and excite you for this experience!

Dear Pitizens,

If you’re not already excited for OA placements…you totally should be! How cool is it that your first task at Pitzer is to go and bond with a group of fellow first years and leaders at some cool location in Southern California. You arrive for move-in day, meet your suitemates, say goodbye to the fam and BAM, you wake up early in the morning and get bussed (or shipped) to the beach for a few days of surfing, to Catalina Island for krazy kayaking, the San Gabriel Mountains for some backpacking action, Huerta del Valle for sustainable farming, or downtown Los Angeles to sample the best food the city has to offer. Regardless of what trip you’re on, everyone is ensured an OA group of 10-15 first years and 3-5 leaders that quickly becomes the first family you have at Pitzer. While some connections are made through shared sunrise hikes, memories of wiping out from a particularly strong wave, or through one of numerous slightly embarrassing and often times revealing ice-breakers, the bottom line is that everyone bonds through the similarity of being in a new place surrounded by new faces. By the end of the 4th day, you realize you’ve grown close with people that you barely met and have established potentially long lasting relationships. Then you come back to campus and not only do you have some new homies, you have campus to yourself with a plethora of Orientation activities to explore.

Although participating as a first year is fun, I don’t think it gets more rewarding than being an OA leader. Most students who choose to lead an OA do so because they want the incoming class to receive the same amount of support that they received during their OA. Your OA Leaders become some of the first mentors you meet at Pitzer; the first ones where you can ask “so tell me what it’s ACTUALLY like at Pitzer”. And believe me, OA leaders love to spill the beans and tell you all about what Pitzer has to offer. All leaders arrive a week before the trips to head out and participate in a weeklong training to ensure that we create an open and inclusive environment and especially to make sure everyone stays safe, fed, and stimulated. The OA coordinators and leaders put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that this experience is one that you wont forget, and hopefully makes the college transition process a bit easier to navigate. So know that your OA leaders are just as excited to meet you all and share this adventure together. The Orientation Adventure program epitomizes the Pitzer community, and you will soon find that there is an incredible number of people on campus that want to start your Pitzer adventure with a bang!

Oh, AND everyone gets a cool NALGENE and TSHIRT!! Get pumped!

-Andy B, Stephen M, and Tyler C

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The following is a short interview with one of this year’s Orientation Adventure coordinators, Tyler.

What is your role as an OA coordinator?

My role as OA coordinator involves working on a team with two other coordinators and a supervisor to take into account what the OA program has done in the past in order to design and put together this year’s program. I am personally taking care of food for all of the trips, along with paying extra close attention to the surfing, beach camping, local outdoors, and camp Pitzer trips.

What has been the most surprising/fun part of this process so far?

The most surprising and fun part of this process has been the mixture of autonomy in terms of being able to put a personal touch on the work I’m doing. Also just the great people I work with.

As an OA veteran, what’s some advice you have for the incoming Pitzer class?

As an OA vet, my advice for the class of 2019 is to relax your mind and relish in the specialness of your time on the trip. Keep an open mind because everyone you’re meeting is new and even if you judge them now, most people are about to change a lot over the next four years.

 

If you lean towards the YouTube variety, check out the OA Prelude to Pitzer video here:


Posted by Andy Buitron ’15 and Stephen Moser ’15

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Alumni Spotlight: Mitchell Felton

Now that the haze of reading season has cleared, it is time for another Alumni Spotlight. This time we hear from Mitchell Felton, a recent graduate from Pitzer and apparently a fan of pandas.

(If you missed the first post in the Alumni Spotlight Series, click here to read the interview with Tim Campos.)

Here’s the low-down on Mitchell:

panda abroad

Year of Graduation: 2013

Major(s): Asian Studies with a focus on History

Home: From Hong Kong originally (where he attended Chinese International School), though he went to high school at Bullard High School in Fresno

Current Job: Campus Constituents Gift and Engagement Officer, Office of Development, University of San Francisco

Pitzer Activities: (Once again, an overwhelming amount) Admission Fellow, Admission Office Junior Staff Member, Senate Member on the Student-Alumni Relations Committee, President/Secretary/Member of the 5-C Circle K International Club, Secretary/Member of the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), Member of the Student Investment Committee, Member of Dining with Democracy, First-Year Mentor, Member of the Senior Class Gift Committee

Fun Facts:

  1. He is a self-proclaimed boba connoisseur.
  2. He currently is the VP for Alumni Giving on the Pitzer Alumni Board.
  3. Podge’s is his favorite place to eat in the Village, but nothing beats the Grove House.
  4. He won a donut eating competition.
  5. He has a wooden bow tie, one of the many members of his growing bow tie collection.

Katie: What made you choose Pitzer College?

Mitchell: I was really attracted to the core values, specifically (at the time it was called) student autonomy as well as intercultural understanding. I really liked the fact that so many students studied abroad and that there were so many options. In terms of student autonomy, I really liked and appreciated the fact that you had the option to design your own major, that there was no strict set of courses you had to take. Rather, there was the option to take many courses which overlapped with multiple disciplines, allowing for a truly interdisciplinary experience. And I appreciate the fact that students have a vote, equal to their faculty and staff counterparts on almost any committee at Pitzer, including the hiring and tenure committee. Lastly, the fact that Pitzer was SAT optional was a big selling point. It meant a lot to me that a college was willing to look at me as an applicant more by my actual course work rather than just some test scores.

“In terms of student autonomy, I really liked and appreciated the fact that you had the option to design your own major, that there was no strict set of courses you had to take. Rather, there was the option to take many courses which overlapped with multiple disciplines, allowing for a truly interdisciplinary experience.”

K: What is one of your favorite Pitzer classroom experiences?

M: One of my favorite classroom experiences was in Contemporary Central Asia with Professor Azamat Junisbai during my freshman year. First of all, Azamat is a pretty cool guy to begin with. Second, how much do you currently know about Central Asia? After this course you’ll know anything and everything you need to know about it! This class only had about ten people, so it was pretty small, which provided for a great discussion of the readings and current events in the region. We were able to analyze many different facets of life and history in Central Asia through in-class discussions and outside readings…one time we had a movie night, where we watched a movie from the region (I voted for Borat, but we went with something a little more traditional), and Azamat brought in some really delicious, homemade snacks from Kazakhstan. This class was one of the first of many very small classes that I had in Claremont, and I really liked the fact that we got to know the professor and learn the material on a much deeper level than your typical lecture style class would. I still keep in touch with Azamat even six years after taking his class.

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Mitchell and classmates enjoying dumplings at a prof’s house.

Another class that I took that I have very fond (and sometimes painful- because of how difficult the class was) memories of was my Advanced Chinese class at Pomona. The class was also very small with only eight people in it. We were a very tight-knit group of students, we got to know each other pretty well, and our Chinese abilities improved a lot because of it. One time our professor invited us over to her house where she cooked us dinner and we all made dumplings together! This professor, also had a sense of humor, and always cracked jokes with us. When we were taking our final I said to her, “Oh my God, Yao Lao Shi (professor’s name), this final is so hard!” Her response (keep in mind that English is not her native language), without even blinking an eye was, “God can’t save you now!”

K: What has been your career path after Pitzer?

M: I am currently working at the University of San Francisco in their Development (code for Fundraising) Office. In my role, I focus on all of our on campus fundraising from students (through the Senior Class Gift), faculty, and staff. As part of this, I handle all of the mail solicitations for these groups, I meet one-on-one with faculty, staff and alumni to talk with them about their USF experience about getting them more involved in the school, and I raise money for things like student scholarships and academic programs. I also get to work very closely with the Student Philanthropy Committee, a group of students who are passionate about helping others and helping to educate the USF community on the importance of donations. I really enjoy my job because I get to work closely with so many students, faculty, and staff, and every day is different and poses new and unique challenges. I was attracted to USF because of the similarities in mission to Pitzer’s. I knew I wanted to stay in higher education after I graduated, and both schools focus heavily on social justice and serving others, trying to educate students who want to go out and change the world.

K: How did Pitzer prepare you for life after college?

M: Pitzer helped me build connections and skills to make those connections after college. I would also say, as cheesy as it is, Pitzer helped me to be more of a critical thinker, allowing me to succeed in my work in an efficient and thorough fashion.

K: How have you remained connected to Pitzer as an alumnus?

I am very active in the alumni network. Not only do I sit on the Alumni Board, but I also lead the pillar for alumni giving within the Alumni Board. (Our board has four pillars that have main responsibilities with regards to engaging our alumni). On top of this, I host alumni events in the SF Bay Area. I don’t interview prospective students but would like to if the option became available. I have met with prospective students in the bay in the past at the request of the Admission office. I visit campus four times a year for alumni board meetings and then once or twice additionally for personal trips.

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At Alumni Weekend, catching up with fellow Pitzer alumni.

K: How do you see Pitzer growing or changing in the next 10 years?

M: I can see Pitzer becoming more focused, and excelling even further in the areas it currently excels in, and becoming a leader in those areas. I think with the recent divestment in fossil fuels and the beginning of the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability we can really see Pitzer growing and excelling in the environmental sciences. I also see the Pitzer student body becoming more diverse.

 

K: What advice would you give to current Pitzer students and prospective Pitzer students about college and the process of finding the right college for you?

M: I think today, just like the current job market for millennials, it is more about finding the school that has a similar mission to your own, or has a mission that resonates with you. If you are interested in Pitzer, apply because you love the mission and the values that we expound, not for its ranking or access to the other colleges. I also recommend that you, if you can, sit in on classes, spend the night on campus, visit with the Admission staff, so that you can get the best sense of the community and be able to make a well-informed decision come May. For students who decide to matriculate to Pitzer, make sure you get involved in as many things as possible. Claremont has so much to offer that by your senior year, you will regret having not gotten involved sooner. Plus, four years whizzes by!

“If you are interested in Pitzer, apply because you love the mission and the values that we expound, not for its ranking or access to the other colleges.”

K: How have Pitzer’s core values continued to play a role in your life after college?

M: The core value of student engagement I believe still plays the biggest role in my life after Pitzer. I have continued to stay engaged with Pitzer by joining the alumni board, and I have also used that to further my career and work in development at USF.

K: What was your favorite thing about Pitzer (if you can choose)?

M: The people. When I was in Claremont and giving tours for the Admission Office, people always asked which school was the friendliest. I always said (I’m not biased or anything) “People say Pitzer has the friendliest people”. I was usually validated by a random student passing by. And it is absolutely true – it is hard to walk through campus without saying hello to at least one person, whether it be someone from your OA (Orientation Adventure), or a staff or faculty member. People at Pitzer are just awesome; not only are they friendly, but they are always doing really cool things  and are very genuine. One of the things I loved about the people is there never was this need to feel like you had to “one up” everyone else, no one pressured you into doing things you were not comfortable with, they let you be you and allowed you to flourish as you wanted to. My other favorite thing about Pitzer was the food! The dining hall food is definitely top notch – it doesn’t get better than what they serve at Pitzer’s dining hall. Believe me, I work at a University that uses the same catering company… I wish it was close to being as good as Pitzer. The Grove House is simply AMAZING as is the Shake Down. Seriously, if you have a chance to eat at either, DO IT. In my opinion, they rival some of the restaurants in the Village.

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“One of the things I loved about the people is there never was this need to feel like you had to ‘one up’ everyone else, no one pressured you into doing things you were not comfortable with, they let you be you and allowed you to flourish as you wanted to.”

K: What would you say was the biggest takeaway from your Pitzer education?

M: To be more conscious of the world that we live in, and to consider all angles/approaches to a solution. I think that while I may not fit some of Pitzer’s Core Values as some of my peers might, Pitzer really taught me to be more thoughtful and aware of others in the world, and how to take into consideration and be respectful of people’s different backgrounds. For example, had I not gone to Pitzer, I probably would not have learned about the environmental impacts of unsustainable food sourcing, or things like PGP’s (Preferred Gender Pronouns) or heteronormativity, etc.

K: What are some of your fondest memories from your time at Pitzer?

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Shenanigans as a residence hall mentor.

M: I have a few very fond memories of Pitzer, the first was when I was a first year mentor. The  RA and I used to take the whole floor out to do weekly In-n-Out runs. We borrowed a couple of the Pitzer Vans and booked it down Foothill to In-n-Out. It was a great time for the hall to get together, take a study break and hang out. My other very fond memory was during my junior year for Admitted Students Day in the Admission Office; I organized a flash mob that many students, faculty, and staff participated in, including the President (who danced and jumped in heels), our VP for Admissions, and our Dean of Students.

Turns out there is a video of said flash mob:

 

Thank you to Mitchell for answering my questions and providing a great Pitzer alum perspective! Coming up next month, our third and final Alumni Spotlight…who will be featured? I guess you’ll have to wait and see!


Posted by Katie Shepherd, Admission Counselor

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Alumni Spotlight: Tim Campos

Here in the Office of Admission, we tend to focus on prospective students – helping them learn about our institution and generally attempting to make the college application process less scary than it seems. We get to work with current students as they help guide tours, coordinate overnight stays, and interview prospective students in the office. But once in a while we should take a moment to connect with our wide network of Pitzer alumni, who have entered the world with their toolbox of globally-minded thoughts and engaging, defining experiences attained during their time at Pitzer.

I reached out to Pitzer Class of 2010 graduate Tim Campos for an opportunity to share his Pitzer and post-Pitzer success story. He was incredibly generous to sit down with me for a lunch in the Village and discuss how Pitzer has shaped him.

I asked him many questions and made it difficult for him to eat his lunch (sorry about that, Tim), but as the conversation went on I became more and more impressed with his connection to Pitzer’s core values, and how he has been able to positively impact the community that helped him grow. Below I have summarized and transcribed bits of our conversation that you may find enjoyable or enlightening. Happy reading!


First, here are the basics about Tim:

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Year of Graduation: 2010

Major(s): Sociology and Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies

Minor: Studio Art

Hometown: Claremont, CA

Pitzer Activities: (honestly too many to list, but…) President of the Latino/a Student Union (LSU), Mentor within Chicano/a Latino/a Student Affairs (CLSA), Community Coordinator for on- and off-campus activities, one of the founders of the annual Rockabilly Festival, member of the Student Senate Diversity Committee, member of the Senior Gift Committee, and an admission junior staff extraordinaire (aka a tour guide, diversity intern, and admission fellow)

Current Job: Marketing Coordinator at HartmanBaldwin Design/Build, a fully integrated architecture, construction, and interior design firm  


Our conversation revolved around both his participation in the Pitzer community as a student, as well as how he has remained connected as an alumni.

Katie: How did you decide on Sociology and Chicano/a – Latino/a Studies as your majors?

Tim:  I had originally planned to pursue the premed track. Upon arriving at Pitzer I was convinced that pursing a premed track and eventually becoming a doctor was what I wanted. But I quickly realized that my passion was not in science, let alone medicine, but helping my community. Taking my first introductory sociology course at Pitzer was the pivotal moment that persuaded me to pursue a major in the social sciences. Sociology courses taught by Professor José Calderón and Professor Phil Zuckerman were certainly some of the best. As for Chicano/Latino Studies, I knew coming into Pitzer that Ethnic Studies would somehow find its way into my course curriculum.

K: So tell me more about starting the Rockabilly Festival at Pitzer. (Note to the readers: The Rockabilly Festival remains one of the largest annual cultural events at Pitzer, drawing over a thousand attendees, both Claremont College students and community members. To find out more about this festival, watch the video below.)

T: The concept for the Rockabilly Festival really originated with Professor Adrian Pantoja.  Professor Pantoja and the Latina/o Student Union had already been collaborating on a few campus events and he was our advisor at the time. With his passion for car culture and specifically how it intersects with Latino/a culture here in the greater Los Angeles area, members of LSU were quick to collaborate and the rest was history. The festival incorporated a car exhibition, as well as an art show and concert featuring rockabilly bands from all over Southern California. While the College already had musical festivals like the popular Kohoutek music festival, we wanted a festival that was open and inclusive, while speaking to the Latino/a community at Pitzer, the Claremont Colleges, and beyond. Today, the Rockabilly Festival is certainly known throughout the Claremont College and Inland Empire communities. This year the group (LSU) will be celebrating the festival’s eighth year. All of the organizing efforts and behind-the-scenes work over years of planning the festival actually provided the foundation to my senior thesis, which focused on the intersection of Latino and rockabilly cultures.

“We wanted a festival that was open and inclusive, while speaking to the Latino/a community at Pitzer, the Claremont Colleges, and beyond.”

K: That’s great. It sounds like a very interesting thesis! And since then, what has been your career path after Pitzer?

T: As an Admission Fellow in my senior year at Pitzer, I realized that higher education was an avenue I wanted to explore professionally. I recall having the opportunity to travel to Portland, Oregon and conduct interviews with prospective students over winter break of that same year. That particular experience solidified my decision to pursue higher education at the administrative level. So in the spring, I applied to several admission counselor openings and one just happened to open up at Pitzer. Two weeks after graduating, I began my career exploration as an admission counselor at Pitzer, recruiting students, reading applications and representing the College while helping cultivate diversity initiatives on campus through my work with the Diversity Program. Aside from that, I also managed social media and assisted with communications and marketing initiatives. I realized though that I was missing a more creative environment as an artist, so I switched careers and became a marketing coordinator for HartmanBaldwin Design/Build, which is a fully integrated architecture, construction, and interior design firm in Claremont and Pasadena. As marketing coordinator, I am responsible for the coordination of key marketing projects including advertising, community relations, online marketing, copywriting, and execution of other relevant initiatives. Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Communication Management (M.C.M.) at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. And who knows, upon completion of the program I may find myself back in the world of higher education, but most certainly in a career combining leadership, communication, and marketing.

K: So how would you say Pitzer prepared you for life after college?

T:  Pitzer prepared me both professionally and personally. There were a handful of influential Latino mentors that I credit for nurturing my leadership and personal growth while at Pitzer.  My advisor and professor, José Calderón, instilled in me a sense of taking what I had learned in the classroom and applying theory to practice in creating change in my local community. Professor Calderón would always say, “Remember brother, don’t let your studies interfere with your education.” Former VP and Dean of Admission, Angel Perez, has probably been one of the most influential figures in my life thus far, both as an undergraduate student and professionally. Being a first generation Latino male, it was awe-inspiring to have mentors like José Calderón and Angel Perez because knowing there were similarities in our experiences made my time at Pitzer much more rewarding.

“There were a handful of influential Latino mentors that I credit for nurturing my leadership and personal growth while at Pitzer.

K: Would you advise anybody going to college (or going to Pitzer) to study abroad?

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Studying abroad is an incredibly important component to many Pitzer students’ educational journeys. Photo courtesy of Pitzer College.

T:  Studying abroad during the summer of my junior year at Pitzer was another pivotal moment for me personally. While in Costa Rica, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and gain a greater intercultural understanding from what I was so accustomed, as someone born and raised in Southern California. So yes, to answer your original question, I think students looking to go to Pitzer should be open to going abroad. Study abroad should be on the top of their list… While other universities offer traditional study abroad programs, our programs incorporate the [core] values so well into the curriculum, while focusing on global/local initiatives.  Upon returning, our programs encourage students to question how they can apply the experience to their local community, while examining the cross-cultural connections.

While in Costa Rica, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and gain a greater intercultural understanding from what I was so accustomed, as someone born and raised in Southern California.

K: Definitely. So this is a little different since you worked at Pitzer for three years after graduating, but since then, what are some ways you have stayed connected with Pitzer since graduating?

T: Even if I hadn’t worked at Pitzer post-graduation, I would have still stayed connected to the College. Since I was heavily involved in various leadership roles as a student, it would have been difficult not to come back and be involved in some aspect.  I have stayed connected to Pitzer through my leadership on the Alumni Board. As one of the governing bodies on the board, I work collectively with fellow board members to enhance areas such as Alumni Reunion Weekend, the Alumni Volunteer Network, Young Alumni programming, and more recently the Annual Fund. As an Alumni Board, we create programming and networking opportunities; enhance the educational, cultural, social and professional lives of recent graduates, while maintaining a connection between alumni and the College.  And aside from my responsibilities on the board, I look for opportunities to come back to campus and share my experiences with current students or prospective students for that matter when my schedule permits.

Since I was heavily involved in various leadership roles as a student, it would have been difficult not to come back and be involved in some aspect.

K: And what are some things you do on the Alumni Board specifically?

T: My involvement on the Board has evolved over the years…when I first started on the Board I really focused on young alumni engagement. And now I’ve transitioned into working more on the development pillar, more specifically the Annual Fund and increasing alumni participation. In my role, I am essentially reconnecting with alumni, and re-engaging them with the Pitzer community, while informing them of new campus initiatives.

K: With your experience and how you’ve seen Pitzer change since you’ve graduated, do you see it growing more in a certain way in the next 5 or 10 years?

T: Pitzer has definitely made a name for itself in the last decade and with the recent 50 Forward Campaign, we hit a milestone. I think for us here at the College it’s nice to be in a position where we can no longer say, “well, we’re young”. No, we are 50, proud, and we are moving our community forward. Pitzer has become one of the leading liberal arts institutions in America. In my mind, Pitzer College is an innovative and creative think tank. We are producing more and more socially conscious agents of change who are prepared with the resources and passion to leave Pitzer and transform the world. I think in the next ten years I’d like to see Pitzer really push that number of 75% of students that go abroad to be in the 90s, or maybe 100%. But I really want Pitzer in the next 10 years to be the leading institution, so that when someone thinks, “we are looking for an institution that’s going to be innovative and pushes us out of our comfort zone”, the institution that people think of is Pitzer.

We are producing more and more socially conscious agents of change who are prepared with the resources and passion to leave Pitzer and transform the world.

K: I agree; that would be a great position to be in! And I think it’s on its way. So thinking back to your time as a student, and now your time as an alumnus, what kind of advice would you give to either current or prospective Pitzer students?

T: For prospective students first – it doesn’t matter where you end up, college-wise. What matters is what college is going to make you grow, and meet your needs. You’re going to be at a place for four years; you want to make sure you’re going to be happy for four years. Ask yourself, “Am I going to grow?” All the other aspects are great and worth considering, but at the end of the day are you going to grow and be happy with your decision? For current students – take advantage of all the opportunities that Pitzer offers. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to rattle the cage a bit. That’s what Pitzer was founded on…students eager to engage and question everything. I think that’s ok; it’s healthy. It indicates that students are not only interested but they are also aware of what’s going on around their community. Don’t be afraid to utilize the resources of the Claremont Colleges. We are part of a consortium for a reason.

It doesn’t matter where you end up, college-wise. What matters is what college is going to make you grow, and meet your needs. You’re going to be at a place for four years, you want to make sure you’re going to be happy for four years.”

K: What kind of things did you partake in on the 5C scale? (Note to the readers: 5C is jargon for taking place at all five undergraduate Claremont Colleges.)

T: Well, being a Chicano/a – Latino/a studies major, which is 5-college, I was able to take courses across all of the various Claremont Colleges. Aside from academics, I was highly involved within the Claremont College community. As previously mentioned, I was a Chicano/Latino Student Affairs mentor for first-year students. Additionally, I was part of the Cesar Chavez Celebration Committee and helped organize programming throughout that month of celebration. I was part of the 5-college Latino graduation committee and a 5-college Latina/o Leaders Coalition. But back to academic resources, I really took advantage of the arts at Scripps, [specifically] the digital art program, which spawned an interest in digital art and design.

K: So how would you say Pitzer’s five core values have stuck with you after college in what you do and how you live your life?

T: Pitzer has allowed me to question my own practices and pay more attention to my carbon footprint. From the type of car I drive… to knowing where my food comes from and eating local…it was great to be a part of a place that encouraged sustainable practices. Pitzer values are not forced. You come to Pitzer because in your college search process you looked for an institution that provide similar values or would push you to challenge your own values and beliefs through positive dialogue.  Aside from sustainability, I can say with confidence that all of the core values have stuck with me post-Pitzer. I always aligned with the core values, but Pitzer only amplified those values with a stronger foundation and sense of pride.

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Pitzer continues to improve the campus’s carbon footprint with additions like the new Holden Garden.

Pitzer has allowed me to question my own practices and pay more attention to my carbon footprint. From the type of car I drive… to knowing where my food comes from and eating local…it was great to be a part of a place that encouraged sustainable practices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

K: Are there other parts of your life that connect you with Social Responsibility?

T: Yes, for example, connecting with a non-profit in Los Angles called HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles), where I assisted in the college application process through facilitation of mock application review and personal statement writing workshops. I am always eager to assist first-generation college-bound students through the college application process. As a first-generation Latino college student myself, I understand the importance of having access to resources and mentors. Speaking of mentors, I plan to establish a mentorship program at Pitzer that would pair current Latina/o students with Latina/o alumni.

K: Is there something that is your favorite thing about Pitzer?

T: That’s such a hard question… As an artist I love the art policy on campus, and the murals, along with the native drought-tolerant landscape and rich architectural history. But in all seriousness, the core of my Pitzer experience is rooted in shared experiences with fellow classmates and the extraordinary teachings and mentorship of Latina/o faculty members like professors Jose Calderon, Adrian Pantoja, and Maria Soldatenko. These same faculty members (and countless others) truly care about the students.

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A class with Professor Roberta Espinoza held in the outdoor classroom. Photo courtesy of Pitzer College.

“The core of my Pitzer experience is rooted in shared experiences with fellow classmates and the extraordinary teachings and mentorship of Latina/o faculty members.”

 

 

 

 

K: I think we’ve talked about this throughout the lunch, but what are some of the big takeaways from your Pitzer education, either academic or social?

T: Academically, I feel Pitzer really prepared me for a writing intensive and rigorous graduate program. I’m at a graduate program that has a lot of writing, and I did a lot of writing at Pitzer…so many research and reaction papers – 15 or 20 page papers. The First-Year Seminar, and the writing intensity of it, to my senior thesis, really prepared me for my graduate coursework. I mentioned this already, but being in the Pitzer community really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and also see my potential as a leader. Pitzer faculty and staff encouraged and fostered my leadership throughout my years.

K: And this probably is a tough question to answer too, but looking back at your four years there, were there certain memories that you really appreciate or enjoy, or things that you are thankful for?

T: Yeah, definitely. I was just at Family Weekend a few days ago, and I was able to sit down with some alumni after the alumni panel that I moderated. We were there in the dining hall, and I just felt like I was back for a Saturday morning meal having brunch with friends. It’s the little things like that I do miss. Just connecting with friends, with fellow Pitzer students on campus, over a meal.  We form such a close-knit community on campus that you become part of a family… whether it’s a classroom experience or social experience, just to be able to have that sit-down time and communicate and share with friends and fellow classmates, that’s something you don’t get every day and something I do miss.

 

Stay tuned for more alumni spotlights ~ next up is Mitchell Felton, Class of 2013!


Posted by Katie Shepherd, Admission Counselor

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