Claremont, Calif. (May 24, 2021)—Seven Pitzer College seniors and alumni have been offered 2021-22 Fulbright Fellowships this year. Four of the recipients will teach English (two in Spain, one in Germany, and one in Mexico), and three will conduct research on subjects ranging from interactive theatre formats in Nepal to coral reef decline in Panama. Two of the Pitzer alumnae were awarded 2020-21 Fulbrights last year but were unable to carry them out due to the pandemic—they reapplied and were offered Fulbrights this year.
In February, Pitzer was named a top producer of Fulbright US Student Program awardees among undergraduate colleges for the 13th consecutive year by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Last year, the Chronicle tapped Pitzer as one of only nine baccalaureate institutions that have been top producers of student Fulbrighters every year for the past 10 years.
Pitzer’s 2021-22 Fulbright US Student Program awardees are:
Sophie Basseches ’20, a sociology major and gender & feminist studies minor, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Spain, assigned to the Canary Islands. She plans to use her past teaching experience in both Ecuador and the US in order to impart her passion for cross-cultural communication. Sophie’s pedagogy will include interactive, flexible, and creative teaching strategies that involve lively participation and structure in an open and non-judgmental classroom atmosphere. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in social welfare, with the goal of becoming an elementary school counselor in Spanish-speaking communities.
Lily Borak ’21, a human biology major and English and world literature minor, is the recipient of a Fulbright to conduct research in Nepal on the use of interactive theater formats, such as playback theater and forum theater, as tools for healing. She will focus on how interactive theater has helped heal communities from specific traumatic events, such as the 2015 earthquake, as well as from ongoing social issues, such as gender discrimination. In addition, Lily will engage with Nepal’s spoken-word poetry community. Upon returning to the US, she hopes to pursue an MA in drama therapy and become an accredited drama therapist.
Gabriela Carrera ’21, a media studies major, has received a Fulbright to conduct research in the Dominican Republic, utilizing the perspective of sex workers, whose income has been contingent upon their ability to provide services that traditionally require physical contact to identify how cis- and trans-women working in the informal economies are collectively and individually responding to the pandemic. After her Fulbright, Gabriela plans to earn a master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean studies with a joint focus on journalism and then pursue a career in alternative media-radio-broadcast journalism.
Priscilla Cobian ’16, a sociology/Spanish major and Chicano studies minor, was awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright to Mexico to teach English. She was unable to carry out her plans due to the pandemic; she applied again and received an offer to undertake her Fulbright for the 2021-22 year, which she plans to do, should circumstances allow.
Esme Kline ’19, an organismal biology major, received a 2020-21 Fulbright last year to do research in Panama where she will be investigating historic drivers of coral reef decline in Bocas del Toro. She reapplied and plans to undertake a 2021-22 Fulbright instead. Esme’s research will involve three phases: physical collection of coral cores; extraction of skeletal material for geochemical analyses and development of growth chronologies and analyses of results. To complement her research and for community engagement, she plans to work with the mentorship program “Mujeres del Océano,” or Women of the Ocean, which aims to deepen local girls’ connection with the ocean through activities such as surfing, snorkeling and beach cleanups. Esme plans to pursue a PhD in marine ecosystems and society.
Veronica Martinez ’21, an organizational studies and Spanish double major, is the recipient of a Fulbright to teach English in Spain at the La Communidad de Madrid. Her experience in teaching English in Vietnam, Spain, and the US will enable her to demonstrate how the power of bilingualism can increase social and cultural knowledge in a community amid a globalizing world. As an applicant from a border town, Veronica will incorporate her experiences as a first-generation Mexican American to explain the multicultural sectors in the US. Upon her return to the US, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in education policy.
Jessica Miao ’21, a biology major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Germany, where she will use her position as an ETA to bring discussions and language around the topic of race in Germany and the US to students. During a previous time in Germany, she found it frustrating to see that, to many, a non-white person was automatically considered an outsider while, simultaneously, white people were accepted as belonging. As an ETA in Germany, Jessica wants to both learn from and share with students. She aims to assist her co-teacher in constructing communities of inclusivity and understanding, believing a classroom is the perfect place to start. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, Jessica plans to work for a year and ultimately attend medical school.
This year’s Fulbright advising team consisted of Nigel Boyle, professor of political studies and founding director of the Institute for Global/Local Action & Study; Sandy Hamilton, associate director of fellowships and scholarships; and Azamat Junisbai, professor of sociology.