Feby and the Toxic Tour

Feby Boediarto is a junior at Pitzer College studying Environmental Analysis.  She is interested in the intersection of environmentalism, entrepreneurship, and technologies.  Her new emerging passion is in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which looks at geographic data and spatiality in a specific area.  In her free time, she loves to cook and watch That 70s Show.

20 miles inland, we found ourselves surrounded by desert hills.  The sun beamed on the top of our heads as a salty wind passed by. We were at the fence line of what used to be a toxic waste dump in the 50s.   


This semester, my Environmental Justice class drove to Jurupa Valley, a 25 minute commute from Pitzer College.  As the students entered the city limits, I experienced a surge of feelings within minutes.  After reading literature on environmental justice and racism issues, it was astonishing yet heart wrenching to actually witness the texts we’ve been studying.  We saw a diverse and beautiful community in the midst of a sterile and industrial landscape. We heard the hundreds of trucks pass by one intersection.  We smelled the sulfur, weighing our lungs and hearts heavy.  


The tour was a great example of the core values that Pitzer possesses- for instance social justice issues and interdisciplinary learning.  From this tour, I’ve witnessed a fusion of social issues like race, gender, and even worker’s rights, all-encompassing under the umbrella of ‘environmental justice.’ If you are someone who craves to learn about a world outside of a classroom, and sees an education as an avenue to create solutions, then Pitzer is for you.  That is what I love about Pitzer.


Image: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Image: Kurt Miller/ The Press Enterprise

Posted by Feby Boediarto ’17, Environmental Analysis

Boediarto, Feby

Meet Jennifer ’18!

Hello All!


My name is Jennifer, or Jenn or Jenny! I am a second year Asian American Studies, Socio Cultural Anthropology double major from Arlington, VA. I have a passion for empowering students from underrepresented groups through education and access.

I am an Asian Pacific American Coalition sponsor, which means I mentor Asian American Pacific Islander first year students. We put on fun events, like going to trampoline parks or eating pho, and help these students navigate higher education.

I also work at the Center for Asian Pacific American students as a program coordinator. That means I put on events and workshops geared towards raising awareness of Asian American Pacific Islander issues.

11995959_1050120151678037_6833677717092412062_nAs you can see there is a lot to do here at Pitzer. If you have a passion for it Pitzer will provide you with the resources to fulfill that passion. My classes have also given me the knowledge to pursue those passions with an academic lense.

I hope to showcase the multiple passions that are exhibited and supported here on campus!

Posted by Jennifer Kaku ’18, Asian American Studies & Socio Cultural Anthropology

Kaku, Jennifer


Meet Livvy ’18!

Hello hello! My name is Livvy and I’m a student tour guide at Pitzer College. I’m stoked to be contributing to this blog with posts about my experiences as a Pitzer student. So here is a little bit about me!


  1. I’m a sophomore living in Mead (the apartment style residence hall on campus covered in colorful murals).
  2. I’m from Boulder, Colorado so the mountains feel like home to me.
  3. I’m (potentially) a Sociology major with a dance minor… and maybe some gender studies thrown in the mix!
  4. You can usually find me reading a book in the shade on the Mounds, making a yummy fried egg sandwich while working at the Grove House (our sammies are seriously legendary), attempting headstands in a yoga class, having a spontaneous dance party, or trying to dismantle the patriarchy in a Feminist Coalition meeting.
  5. On the weekends, I like to explore outside, whether it’s rock climbing in Joshua Tree, hiking in the desert, or playing in the waves at a beach. I usually go on these trips with Pitzer Outdoor Adventures Club!


When I think about, Pitzer has played a huge part in shaping who I am as a person. I can’t wait to share my stories of Pitzer with you! <3 Livvy

Posted by Livvy Feeney ’18, Sociology

Feeney, Livvy

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Kawahara

Alright, folks, you know how this goes. Our third and final Alumni Spotlight for this season is Emily Kawahara ’12, a tennis-playing international traveler and philosophy guru. Keep reading to find out her Pitzer story and what she is up to now.

Year of Graduation: 2012Davis SISS

Majors: 1. English and World Literature, emphasis in Creative Writing 2. Philosophy

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

High School: C.K. McClatchy High School

Current Job: International Student Intake Advisor at UC Davis

Pitzer Activities: Pomona-Pitzer Varsity Tennis for 4 years, APAC (Asian Pacific American Coalition) sponsor and head sponsor, Writing Center tutor, study abroad in Nepal

Fun Fact: 

Best friend of Mattie Ross (Assistant Director of Admission here at Pitzer and a member of the Class of 2012)

K: Thinking back to when you were a junior or senior in high school, what made you choose Pitzer?

E: So I did the whole Southern California trip with my mom, and we were on our way to Redlands, going on the 10, and we saw the sign for the Claremont Colleges. She mentioned that she had read about them in a college magazine. The first school we pulled up to happened to be Pitzer, and as soon as I got out of the car and stepped on campus I kind of knew. I don’t know what it was about it…maybe it was the landscape, maybe it was just a really perfect day in Claremont, but I got out of the car and just felt really at home. And then we went to the Office of Admission, talked with the admission counselor (I found out later that was actually my interview), and learned that they had a Creative Writing program, which I was definitely interested in. I was thinking about doing Philosophy but I wasn’t sure about it yet. The other thing was that I wanted to play tennis. I learned they had a Division III team – a top 10 team in the nation – and once I started reading a little bit more about the coach and what the team had done, it just seemed like a really great fit. I did an overnight stay with one of the girls on the team, Zoe. And I spent a lot of my stay with one of the girls another teammate, Alex Margolin, who was a senior when I was a freshman, and we’re still incredibly good friends. I’m actually going to be in her wedding next year. I kept in touch with her and all of the team throughout the application process…it was my first choice the entire time.

I don’t know what it was about it…maybe it was the landscape, maybe it was just a really perfect day in Claremont, but I got out of the car and just felt really at home.

K: What were the main things you got involved in and why did you involve yourself in those activities while at Pitzer?

E: Well the first one was definitely tennis. I had been playing since I was really young, and I knew I wanted to keep playing, but I knew that education was really important too, which is why I looked mainly at DIII schools. So I was on the team for all four years while I was there, and that took up almost all of my time. My freshman year I worked for the Office of Admission, giving campus tours, sitting at the front desk with Lesley, filing and all that. My sophomore year I was an overnight coordinator in the Office of Admission, and that was fun because I coordinated prospective student visits and spoke to students and parents about how great Pitzer is. I went abroad junior year, and when I came back I got a job at the Writing Center because I knew that I wanted to do something more along those lines. The other thing I was really involved with was APAC (the Asian Pacific American Coalition) – I was a sponsee my freshman year, and my sponsor was actually my teammate, Alex. My sophomore and junior year I was an APAC sponsor, and then my senior year I was the Head APAC sponsor. I also did the study abroad program in Nepal in the fall of 2010.

Pitzer AAPI Grad
Taken at the 5-C Asian American Pacific Islander graduation ceremony. Left to right: Chelsey Kitazawa ’12 (left), PZ prof Kathleen Yep, and Emily Kawahara ’12.
Emily spent a huge amount of her time while at Pitzer playing tennis.

You found the hidden message!


K: So what made you want to get involved in things like APAC and study abroad?

E: I’m half Japanese and half Scandinavian, and I’ve always really identified with my Japanese heritage and culture. When I got to Pitzer on move-in day, I had a bunch of APAC sponsors help me move in. They were all really welcoming and nice, and invited me to their meetings. It took me a little while actually to start going to the meetings, but then I started understanding how important it was to really get a sense of your identity, that’s really what college is all about. So I learned a lot about the culture that I thought I already knew. And I got to meet a bunch of people from all different backgrounds; some were first generation students, some have families that have been here for a long time but still, like me, stay true to their Asian culture even though they may not appear that way on the outside. That’s why APAC had a huge impact on me and was a lot of what I did.

Studying abroad was one of the selling points for Pitzer. I knew I wanted to go abroad; I had caught the travel bug in high school  when I participated in an ambassador program. I originally planned on going to France or Morocco. I went to the Study Abroad Office, got the paperwork for France and Morocco, and as I was leaving some other student came in that I had never met and struck up a conversation because everyone at Pitzer is so nice and always does that. They basically said, I don’t know where you are thinking about going, but you should go to Nepal. And I said that I didn’t even know where Nepal was. He said it will change your life – you have got to go to Nepal. So I put down the paperwork I got, and picked up the Nepal one. I didn’t even know where it was, I didn’t look it up or anything. I just applied. I ended up going, and by far it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. That was awesome because that was the first time I really understood what college is about – the whole idea of taking that deliberate step into the unknown.  And that’s something I’ve tried to keep doing ever since I left.

“I didn’t even know where it was, I didn’t look it up or anything. I just applied. I ended up going, and by far it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Nepal Baujuu Nepal CATS

Nepal Climbing Elephant  Nepal The Girls

K: What are some other ways you stepped into the unknown while you were here are or after graduating? That’s something I think Pitzer students are really good at, or at least they find ways to do more of that than students at other colleges.

E: Definitely. Well after I got back from studying abroad, I knew I was interested in traveling abroad, living abroad, and putting myself in uncomfortable cross-cultural situations. So that’s why I had applied to a whole bunch of scholarships and grants for working and living abroad after graduating.  I was lucky enough to be offered a Fulbright, so I ended up doing a teaching Fulbright in Thailand. While I was on the Fulbright, I traveled quite a bit to different south Asian countries, and that’s actually why I am doing what I’m doing now. I found out I was interested in international education, and I knew I had to get that real world base understanding first before looking for a position where I could be a change maker.

I found out I was interested in international education, and I knew I had to get that real world base understanding first before looking for a position where I could be a change maker.

K: Can you describe what you do now?

E: I work for UC Davis, with the Services for International Students and Scholars. I am an International Student Intake Adviser, so I basically help students understand and stay within their legal status while they are in the U.S. It’s a lot of student advising. So if there’s a student here that wants to say, travel for a vacation, so not back to their home country and not somewhere in the U.S., they come in and talk to me about what they need to do to make sure they have the right travel documents and are in good standing, or that their U.S. Visa isn’t going to expire before they get back…From studying abroad and from working abroad, I know that there was a lot of paperwork, a lot of rules and regulations I wasn’t aware of, and a lot of those situations can be really uncomfortable situations because you just don’t know where the line is, or it’s in a language you’re not fluent in. So that first interaction can really either make or break their time here, or it can negatively affect the experience from the very beginning. I’m the first face or the first voice for international students, making sure information is clearly explained, so that students are understanding exactly what they need to stay legal here, because there are just so many crazy and complex rules. So that’s pretty much what I do now!

Davis GEM
Emily created a program at UC Davis called Global Engagement Mondays (GEM). Every Monday, international students, scholars, families, and domestic students and staff come together to discuss a variety of topics in a safe creative environment. Here Emily is leading a discussion on different forms of greetings and gestures.
Davis SISS
Halloween time at UC Davis!


K: So are you planning on staying in this field to continue to help international students in Higher Ed? Or do you have an idea of where you might want to go from here?

E: What I might want to do is go back and work for IIE or Fulbright, or work more at a policy level, but I really enjoy working in Higher Ed for now. I want to see what’s happening at the base level – what’s working and what’s not – and where students get confused. I want to understand what rules are put in place and why. And then maybe figure out what can be done to make it easier for students…I guess that kind of goes back to the Pitzer Core Value of Intercultural Understanding. You can’t have Intercultural Understanding if there are rules that people don’t know about; you can’t really have an environment to foster this understanding if people are uncomfortable when traveling abroad because they are afraid they might fall out of legal status. So I’m really happy where I’m starting, but I know there’s a whole ladder to climb, and there are a lot of other rules I won’t be made aware of until later. So hopefully I’ll be able to work more in the policy or government area in the future.

K: Let’s talk about how you’ve remained connected to Pitzer as an alumnae – are there ways you’ve managed to either come to campus or stay connected in other ways?

E: Yeah, I think tennis is really the main way. I feel that in playing a sport you’re part of a team for four years and for life; you want to know how they’re doing because each player is your teammate, whether or not you were actually on the team together, so I definitely stay updated on how the tennis team is. Now we can see videos of their final points (thanks to Jeremy and the Pomona-Pitzer Athletics Facebook page), which has been great. I was there a couple months ago now and watched some matches over spring break. I’m always excited any time I get the opportunity to go back to Pitzer. I got to go to the 50th Anniversary last year, and that was awesome. I try to keep updated as much as I can on everything that is happening there because it’s such a great college; you feel that sense of pride, even when you’re not there anymore.

Tennis Senior Year team Tennis Senior Year Nationals

K: What would you say was your biggest challenge while you were at Pitzer? And what helped you overcome it?

E: I’d say kind of like what we talked about before, just taking that big step – a deliberate big step into the unknown. When I went to Pitzer I knew I was going to be playing tennis, I knew I was going to be taking English or Literature classes, I had a pretty good focus on what I wanted to do, mainly Creative Writing…but I also learned to make the time to fit in other random things too. I had a pretty packed schedule between working and APAC and tennis and classes. The philosophy major was actually really random – I was interested in ethics and ended up taking a bunch of philosophy classes for fun, and in my junior year during office hours with one of my favorite professors, Julie Tannenbaum at Pomona, she asked me why I wasn’t majoring in philosophy. She knew I was only a couple classes short. One of the main reasons was that I didn’t want to take Logic, and another reason was that I was just really intimidated in every single class I took. I was really interested in the theories and how they were applied, but I would go and sit in the back and talk as minimally as I needed to. And she pretty much told me to suck it up and that I should just do it if it was something I cared about. I actually took a Seminar class with her that started out with 20 people, and by the second week I think we were down to maybe 4 or 5 – it was such a hard class that everyone just dropped it. Philosophy classes were generally mostly male, and I was the only girl left in that Seminar class. So she helped me make that deliberate step towards diving into an unknown by adding the philosophy major, and I feel that again it goes back to the Pitzer Core Values (by the way, Pitzer is so good at maintaining its mission throughout the entire time you’re there, from the moment you get there until the moment you leave)…I think I just learned how to do the things that I cared about without knowing exactly where it would lead – because a lot of people will talk and say things like “I like doing this, but I’m not really going to do anything about it”. I think that the education I got and my interactions with my professors really made me able to take a deliberate next step in solving a problem. If you have a plan, you need to stick to it, and rather than just telling everyone, you need to show it by action. I think that that wasn’t something I was as used to when I got to Pitzer.Fulbright Group

I think that the education I got and my interactions with my professors really made me able to take a deliberate next step in solving a problem.






K: Are there ways you’ve seen the Core Values play out in your life after college?

E: The Core Value of Intercultural Understanding has really guided me since graduating. After my Fulbright, I had a tough time coming back to America because reverse culture shock was way worse than culture shock. Then I had a hard time finding a job because I was torn between getting a job that I cared about and getting a job just because I needed to pay off my student loans. I knew that I wanted to have some sort of positive effect on the global community, and I knew that I wanted to get involved in international education…you can’t just walk in and say this is what I think needs to improve or this is what needs to be worked on. You need to start at the bottom. So I feel that I’ve always kept the end goal of promoting Intercultural Understanding in mind, and that’s why I like to think that what I do I do with a purpose. There’s a reason why I got the job at Davis, first in programming and outreach, and there’s a reason why I decided that within that department I wanted to switch over and do international student advising. So instead of doing the programming and outreach which I was really used to from being in APAC, I wanted to get more into the government and immigration policy side of it. I think Intercultural Understanding has kind of been my catch phrase since I was a senior and applying to Fulbright and all of those programs. It’s an important framework to keep in mind in this growing global community, and I think Pitzer does a really good job of introducing that. Especially being at Davis, there’s a huge population – way bigger than Pitzer and the Claremont Colleges – and unfortunately I think there are a lot of people that think that international students are taking up the places of California residents, or international students are taking all of these opportunities for Americans, and it’s really unfortunate because that’s one very shallow perspective of what’s happening. What’s really happening is you now have the opportunity, without even going abroad, to learn about cultures from all of the international students and scholars who are taking advantage of the available exchange programs. So I think that the idea of Intercultural Understanding has really stuck with me in everything I’ve done. I’ve even taken some programs I ran in APAC and altered them for trainings and workshops here at Davis.

K: Do you have any advice for current, prospective, or admitted Pitzer students about college in general?

E: I think it’s really important to be honest with what you want in your college, meaning what you want from your education but also from your experience as a whole. I appreciated Pitzer while I was there, but I don’t think I really truly appreciated it until after I left. Since graduating, I’ve met people who attended a variety of other colleges, and from discussions I’ve had with them, it’s clear that the education from Pitzer and the Claremont Colleges is something you can’t get anywhere else. We, as Claremont College alumni and students, have these opportunities that I think we sometimes take for granted – like the ability to study abroad on programs like the Nepal program, or Botswana or Costa Rica, on programs that aren’t exchanges. You are living with families and not just going to universities. I think just knowing that you have a choice in what you want to do is important. If it’s really important for you to go to a big school and be lost among that, or go to a small school and have that experience where it’s an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio…either way I think it’s super important to keep in mind that it’s really about the experience as a whole. I was applying for this graduate program recently, writing all of these essays, and I had to get letters of recommendation. I asked Kathy Yep, who I actually never had as a professor but she was just an amazing mentor for APAC and for life in general. I still talk to her, so I sent her a text super last minute and asked her for a letter of recommendation. My friends who went to bigger schools told me that there’s no way that three years out of college they could text a professor that they didn’t even have, or even one that they did have in college, to ask them for a letter of recommendation and expect to get anything back. There’s nothing wrong with going to a big school or going to a small school – there are so many great options out there, though I am super biased.

Nepal Trekking the Annapurna

Since graduating, I’ve met people who attended a variety of other colleges, and from discussions I’ve had with them, it’s clear that the education from Pitzer and the Claremont Colleges is something you can’t get anywhere else. We, as Claremont College alumni and students, have these opportunities that I think we sometimes take for granted – like the ability to study abroad on programs like the Nepal program, or Botswana or Costa Rica, on programs that aren’t exchanges.



K: What is it like working at a much larger university after going to such a small college? Do you think about that when you’re working there?

E: Definitely. I started in the summer, so there were only summer school students ere, and that was what about the number of students I was used to while at Pitzer. And when classes actually started in the fall and I saw how many students were here, I was incredibly overwhelmed. It’s pretty amazing as an adviser to hear some examples from students of their interactions with their professors or with other students. Even just the idea of being taught by a TA, or going to TA office hours, is hard to imagine. So it’s an incredibly different experience.

K: Do you have a favorite thing about Pitzer?

E: I think one of my favorite things about Pitzer was just how small it was. I had a 2:45 philosophy class and could take a nap until 2:44 and still get there before the professor. The class sizes were great, because you actually felt like the professors knew you. If you missed a class, they would email you and ask you where you were. Basically when I think about Pitzer in general I always get happy, because everything that happened there was great. Even the things that were tough because you’re going through a really interesting time in life, being what, 18-22. Some of the fondest memories I have were just from playing tennis, and the camaraderie I got from being on those teams all four years. Each year was incredibly different; teammates left and knew ones came in. But I think that being on the Pomona-Pitzer tennis courts was always really great. We sometimes would have 6 am breakfast at Frary to make early matches, and the teammates from Pitzer would all meet up right between Mead and Holden (which isn’t there anymore), and we’d walk through the mounds over to Pomona, and it was always silent. And that was always a really nice walk. I miss Holden, to be honest, because Holden was great – it was disgusting – but great. I lived there my sophomore year and then half of my junior year when I got back from study abroad, and it was disgusting but I loved it. I used to study late night all the time in CAPAS (Center for Asian Pacific American Students), and in Edmunds at Pomona with the team. Those were probably the best nights, just staying up all night with my friends…turns out trying to write a philosophy paper at 3 in the morning just kind of comes out as gibberish.

Fulbright TeachersFulbright HomeRoomTennis OjaiTennis Freshman NationalsPitzer Friends 2Pitzer FriendsFulbright Loi KratongFulbright Indo

If you like what you see, check out the Alumni Spotlight posts on Tim Campos ’10 and Mitchell Felton ’13!

Posted by Katie Shepherd, Admission Counselor


My Introduction

Hi. My name is Jessa (the one on the left in the photo) and I am a second year at Pitzer College. I have not declared my major yet but I am 90% sure that I am going to be a double major in sociology and create my own major in public health focusing on women’s rights. I am so happy to be at Pitzer. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else for my higher education. Pitzer has an amazing personality that permeates through every activity and class that happens at Pitzer. The students who are at Pitzer are here for a reason. The main connection that all Pitzer students have is through the connection of the core values. Every student at Pitzer believes strongly in the five core values. The Pitzer faculty and staff are also at Pitzer because their core values are similar to Pitzer’s core values. Every professor that I have had has made an effort to get to know me for me and get to know what my strengths and weaknesses are inside and outside the classroom. I am just a second year student and I have already made very meaningful connections with professors. For example, my spring semester of my first year I was in a class called “Women, Crime, and Punishment” and my perspective on the criminal justice system was completely turned around. Now I am involved in the prison abolition movement and volunteer in a woman’s penitentiary. I also email and keep in touch with the professor on a regular basis and she helps me stay updated on current prison issues.

On a consistent basis I find myself stopping for a quick moment and thinking how happy and lucky I am to be where I am. I have so many wonderful people supporting me at all times of my life from amazing new friends to faculty.

Posted by Jessa Stein ’17, Undeclared

Jessa Stein Tour Guide

Beyond Buzzwords, Part 3

Interdisciplinary Learning…I can almost see all of your eyes rolling at just the thought of these words together. This term represents perhaps the most overused buzzword in higher education today. For more than a century, the “modern” social science disciplines like Sociology, Economics, Psychology, and Anthropology have battled each other professionally and intellectually. In a very literal sense, college and university faculty argue with each other and with administrations to justify expanding their particular departments. More generally, debates continue about which discipline best prepares students to study and understand the world around them. In fact, traditional higher education in America is based on these debates.

Since the 1960s, however, a new way of looking at the world has begun to earn a place in the academy. Pitzer, founded in 1963, has always embraced the interdisciplinary approach to learning. Interdisciplinary learning is an acknowledgment that people are multi-faceted, that the world does not conform to traditional academic disciplines. As a result, we are looking for students and faculty who agree that the learning process is best served when we ask what traditional disciplines can do together, rather than how they differ.

One of the ways you can see this value manifested on campus is in the structure of our Field Groups. Most colleges and universities place their faculty within traditional departments. We’re not most colleges. At Pitzer, faculty members can choose to identify with different Field Groups, allowing for a freer exchange of intellectual perspectives. We have professors here at Pitzer who may have been “trained” in graduate school as Anthropologists or Neuroscientists, but they choose to teach courses in History or Psychology. Further, we don’t physically separate our faculty by subject area. You won’t find the “Sociology building” on campus, or the “English/World Literature” building either. You will find Economists sitting next to Psychologists and Poets sitting next to Mathematicians.

Andre Wakefield, Professor of History at Pitzer, teaches a course on the History of the Disciplines and is currently working on a new project that will consider the historical, intellectual, and practical issues surrounding academic disciplines in higher education.

Another example of Interdisciplinary Learning has been the rise of the “Studies” in higher education, and particularly at Pitzer. Several of our Field Groups and majors fall into inherently interdisciplinary categories such as Media Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Political Studies, and Organizational Studies (to name but a few). The idea behind these degree programs is to provide room for students to explore a subject from a variety of perspectives. For example, in Environmental Studies when we talk about water usage in the Southern California area, we are forced to acknowledge that we are really talking about a political issue, and a sociological issue, and an economic issue, and an historical issue, as well as a scientific issue.

Christine Zarker Primomo is currently a Senior at Pitzer College and an Admission Fellow here in our office, among other things. Her major – Science, Technology, and Society (STS) – is a great example of Interdisciplinary Learning. Christine says, “These classes span across multiple disciplines including but not limited to: history, philosophy, anthropology, politics and public policy, and sociology. After taking Governing India my first semester, I discovered my interest in global water issues. STS has allowed me to combine my love for science with my passion for improving the health of and access to water resources. One of the best parts about Pitzer, especially majoring in an interdisciplinary field, is that each semester, without consciously trying, my classes all come together. Learning takes on a new face when in addition to taking classes I love, I see that they are all somehow connected under a bigger idea, one not tied to a specific discipline but rather have a diversity of views and practices. Part of the excitement of the semester involves discovering new links between classes like Environmental Chemistry, Language and Society, the Politics of Water and Philosophy of Science.”

For prospective students, we’re interested to know how the idea of Interdisciplinary Learning helps you look at your world. What are the theoretical and methodological tools that you need to take on challenges in your community? What kinds of multi-dimensional issues pique your interest? If you could create your own major, what would it include?

If you are excited to answer these questions, then you have gone beyond the buzzword. I encourage you to think about how your education will challenge you to find questions and answers in curious places. Tell us how you see the world, its problems, its successes, and why you want to continue your explorations at Pitzer. Read faculty bios and course descriptions at the various institutions that you’re considering right now; if they’re not assigning readings from different fields, then they’re not interdisciplinary. If they’re not assigning men and women on their reading lists, then they’re not interdisciplinary. If they’re not assigning ethnically and racially diverse sources, then they’re not interdisciplinary. Put institutions of higher education to the test.

Thanks for coming back to Admission Unpeeled. There’s a lot more information coming in the days ahead so stay tuned and keep reading!

Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor


Secret time

Unfortunately Angel is sick today, but that means I finally have the opportunity to expose all of the classified secrets that I have been forced, at the threat of torture, to keep from you. These tidbits of knowledge are so secret that through exposing them I may lose my job, but that is the price of the truth!

First I will expose the secrets of committee. Many people think that with how competitive the admission process has become a lottery process would be the fairest way to determine admission status. I just want to let you know that at Pitzer we DO NOT use monkeys and a dart board to determine admissions….we use chickens. That’s right, we don’t even bother to read your applications. Instead we spread them out over the floor and release a group of chickens into the room. Whichever application a chicken lays an egg on is considered an admit. Obviously chickens can only lay so many eggs a day, which is why it takes us 2-3 months to make our “decisions”.

A well hidden secret about the origin of the college, the original plan for Pitzer was to be a theme park for the other 4 colleges. We were still going to keep our orange theme, so there were going to be the Citrus Breezer, an Orange Peel Slid from where Mead is and the Pitzer Pinwheel where the Admission Office is located. Cecil was set to be the equivalent of Mickey Mouse ©, but unfortunately, due to copy-right infringement we were forced to become a college instead.

Now for the nasty truth about our tour guides. So I don’t know how many of you saw “College Road Trip”, but they actually took the idea of hiring actors to make campus look nice from us. All of our tour guides are actually professional actors and not Pitzer students. If you look closely you will notice that Ben actually was an extra in “Superbad”…

ben…and Pamela was a cheerleader in “Mean Girls” and “Bring it On Again”.


Sometimes they are so good that we hire them as full time counselors. Constance was actually the star of “Dangerous Minds” and has been living a lie for the past 5 years.
The only reason I have been allowed to expose these secrets is to soften the bad news. Due to the current economic crisis, Pitzer will no longer be open to students. We are becoming a full research institution/Ultimate Frisbee team. In fact all of our current students are being forced into non-paid research spots, that is those who don’t make the ultimate Frisbee team.
So I am sorry to have gotten all of your hopes up, best of luck with next year and happy April Fool’s Day !☺

(Nothing in the above post is serious. So you don’t need to call to see if we still exist as an educational institution.)

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

 Danny Leaps for joy


Hi everyone.

So we are in committee now. Another completely new experience for me. During committee we discuss all of the files and create the best class possible. We are still only starting so I will post some pictures and more details next week, but to tide you over until then, here is another post from one of our fabulous Admission Fellows.


Hey readers,

I’ve never written a blog before so I hope I don’t fail you. There’s really a lot going on with me these days as I close out my last semester of college. Mostly what’s on my plate the next few weeks is my thesis and finding something do after graduation.

Just to give you all a little background on myself I’m Tori! I’m a Neuroscience major and a Spanish minor here at Pitzer. While I finished my minor a while ago I still have quite a bit of work left on my major.

As a Neuroscience major I’m required to complete a 2-semester experimental thesis project of my own design. I spent last semester doing background research and designing my experiment and this week I’ll finally start it! I’ll be studying the effects of increased serotonin through dietary means. You guys might have heard about Serotonin in reference to depression, but it does a lot of other things in your body as well. Serotonin is really considered the universal neurotransmitter because it’s involved in so many processes from appetite and weight control to regulating body temperature and how much pain you feel. Also, of course, it affects your mood and emotional state.

Basically what I’ll be doing over the next 2 weeks is administering tryptophan dietarily, which is a protein you normally get from some foods. You might have heard that it’s in turkey. This protein, and only this protein, becomes serotonin in your brain. I’ll be watching for various effects of this treatment and trying to help determine if tryptophan could be a viable treatment option for various conditions such as depression or acute pain.

My study should end just in time for Spring Break so wish me luck! Hopefully there are no snags that would prevent me from having to stay here over break but they don’t call it experimental for nothing.

After the study ends I will write up my results into the paper that will be my actual thesis and I’ll also create a poster for presenting my findings. When I say a poster I don’t mean I’m gluing things to a piece of poster board, it’s a professionally-printed 5 foot by 3 foot display and no easy task to create.

Even though thesis is the biggest item on my plate right now I still have other classes that I’m taking and have to keep up with, like I have a midterm in Cell Bio tomorrow that I’m not very excited about. I’m also taking a class on Meditation & Xi-Quong, which is a slow martial art. I thought it would be nice to take a class that was designed to relieve stress! My last class, but not least, is Neuropsychology which I love. The professor is hilarious and we get to learn about the effects of head trauma and things like that.

Despite all the work I really do love school and will be very sad to leave it. After spending four years here I’ve come to know a great deal of people that I don’t want to leave behind, but at the same time I feel like I’m ready for a transition, something new. It’s very bittersweet really. I imagine you all are feeling something like that.

Well enjoy your last semester of high school and be sure to make the most of college when you get there. And keep reading! Who knows, maybe I’ll post my thesis results….

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy

An Admission Fellow’s Perspective

Hey everyone! My name is Emma, and I’m one of the awesome admission fellows here at Pitzer. As a second semester senior I’m currently in the process of writing an honors thesis for my major, Organizational Studies (which is basically a liberal arts, interdisciplinary way of doing a business major), on the effectiveness of Appreciative Inquiry as a method of evaluation. For the past couple of months I’ve been doing lots of library research with the aid of our very helpful Honnold-Mudd librarians, brainstorming ideas with my advisors, sending emails to leaders in the field, and I even attended the Positive Psychology Symposium at Claremont Graduate University, which had the founders and leaders of the field speaking. Unfortunately, the easy part is now over and I must start writing. Yuck.

Aside from being an Organizational Studies major I also have a minor in Economics. As one of the professors will be retiring at the end of the year, the school recently went through a job search to fill his position and had the final three candidates to campus in the past three weeks. Everyone on campus was invited to attend the job talks and attendance ranged from the Dean of Faculty to members of the Economics field group to students to members of the maintenance staff, and everyone’s evaluation of the candidates was taken into consideration. I was invited by the field group to take a larger role in the selection process by eating lunch with the candidates after their talks in order for us to better get to know them and for them to get to know what Pitzer students are really like. Although the verdict is still out on who will be joining the Economics field group this fall, having met all three candidates I can say with complete confidence that no matter who is chosen they will make an excellent addition to the campus!

I hope that this was a good peek into what the life of a senior is like here at Pitzer and into our selection process for new faculty. If you have any question about the Economics or Organizational Studies field groups (or about anything related to Pitzer) please feel free to shoot me an email and give me a good distraction from writing my thesis!

Posted by Emma Perlmutter


Lions and Sagehens and Gender Neutral Dragons…OH MY! Part 2

I am sure some of you are curious about how gender neutral dragons are relevant to Pitzer College and to this blog, and rightly so.

This summer one of our tour guides embarked on a crafts project of epic proportions and recycled old file sections into an art project. And thus Rudi the gender neutral dragon was born.

RudiSay hi to Rudi. We loved Rudi so much that he has become sort of an unofficial mascot for the admission office.

Rudi 2Rudi’s creator, Tim Campos, is a Junior at Pitzer and is double majoring in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. On top of being a tour guide, Tim is one of our Diversity Interns. You can find out more about the program on our website: https://www.pitzer.edu/admission/diversity-at-pitzer/

Rudi 3Tim has been working hard and winning major points in the office, right now he is so hot that he is on fire! (Sorry I couldn’t resist the pun)

The fact that Rudi happens to be gender neutral happens to give me the opportunity to shamelessly tell you about Pitzer’s new housing policy. Starting this year, Pitzer has begun a gender neutral housing system. You may ask why and so I shall tell you.

Gender-neutral housing provides a living environment where student housing is not restricted to traditional limitations imposed by gender and/or sex definitions. This option is ideal for students whose gender expression, gender identity and/or biological sex varies from the standard paradigm and for students who believe that their gender and/or biological sex should not be limiting factors in roommate decisions. No student will be restricted by traditional limitations of gender identity, gender expression, biological sex or other identities pertaining thereto. All students will have the option to participate in, or opt out of, gender-neutral housing.

To completely change the subject I am going to be leaving for Texas tomorrow. So there probably won’t be any posts till later in the week. This will be my first trip for Pitzer!!! I am excited. If anyone has read this from Texas and they see me at a school visit point it out and give me any feedback you like. If you aren’t from Texas please feel free to post any comments about the blog or questions you may have about Pitzer in the comments section.

Wish me luck!

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy