Claremont, Calif. (April 18, 2016)—Pitzer College has named public education reformer Amy Rosen ’76 its 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree and community leader Betty Avila ’08 its 2016 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient. They will be honored at a reception on Friday, April 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Pitzer College President’s Residence.
Each year the College recognizes one alumna/us and one recent graduate who embody the values of the College and its community, according to Senior Director of Alumni Relations Nancy Treser-Osgood. “These two remarkable women are socially responsible citizens of the world who make a difference every day in the lives of others,” she said. “Pitzer is proud to have them among our strong and active alumni.”
Amy Rosen ’76 is a nationally recognized expert in comprehensive urban school-system reform strategies. She has worked to close the achievement gap by providing all young people with high-quality educational opportunities.
For the past 15 years, Rosen has applied her entrepreneurial vision, management skills and experience to urban school districts and education organizations. She is currently a partner at the Public Private Strategy Group and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capabilities of Young People; she was previously a lead education advisor to former Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory Booker, who is now a U.S. senator. She has served as president and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the oldest, largest non-profit entrepreneurship education organization in the world. She also served as an advisor to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s team, designing and implementing the restructuring of New York City’s Department of Education. She previously served as COO for New Visions, a large non-profit committed to systemic reform of New York Public Schools.
In addition to her experience in education, Rosen has spent 20 years in the field of transportation, where she led transportation and transit agencies while advocating for national investment in transportation infrastructure and serving two terms as a presidential appointee to the Amtrak Board of Directors.
Betty Avila ’08 is a native of Los Angeles, CA, born and raised in Cypress Park. Her career has centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with particular focus on community building, public space and youth empowerment. Avila recently joined the Self Help Graphics & Art, a nonprofit visual arts center, as associate director and has held positions with The Music Center working on public participatory art programs, Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park as community relations manager and The Getty Research Institute as audience outreach specialist. Avila sits on the board and is the immediate past-president of Multicultural Communities for Mobility, an organization that supports low-income cyclists, pedestrians and public transit users of color through advocacy and education. She played a major role in transitioning this small program to a scaled-up independent organization that serves communities across Los Angeles County. Additionally, Avila has volunteered with the Heart of Los Angeles, assisting college-bound students throughout Los Angeles with the college application process and personal statements.
As a student at Pitzer, Avila was a founding member of the Latino Student Union and sat on the executive committee of Student Senate. She says the support she received from professors such as Maria Soldatenko, Ethel Jorge and Nigel Boyle was crucial to her success.
Avila received her BA with honors in English and world literature and Spanish literature, has an MA in arts management from Claremont Graduate University and was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Korea.