Pitzer Students and Alumni Recognized for Academic Excellence and Innovation

2021–22 Fellowships, Grants, and Other Awards

Pitzer College students and alumni have earned a multitude of awards and fellowships to conduct research, teach English, study languages, engage communities, and pursue their academic interests both virtually and around the globe. To date, 14 Pitzer students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships, three students have become Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, and three students have become Critical Language Scholars. One student has received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, another student will participate in the American Economic Association Summer Program, and another student has received a Projects for Peace Award. Meanwhile, several financially savvy students have won a stock pitch competition, and a first-year student has won a prize from The Claremont Colleges Library. Notably, Kenneth Butler ’22 and Benjamin Sievers ’22 have both won two awards—the Napier Award and Fulbright Fellowship. Among recent graduates, a Class of 2014 graduate earned a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship to support his PhD research at Stanford University.

5C Stock Pitch Competition

Pitzer Investment Society
Pitzer Investment Society

Blake Augustine ’22, Brooke Bordonaro ’22, Max Gordon ’22, & Nick Del Biaggio ’22 of the Pitzer Investment Society won the 5C Stock Pitch Competition. After being founded only three years ago, this was the club’s first year in the competition. Investigating which companies stand to benefit or get hurt from inflation, the club won with their pitch to sell stock at Sprouts due to people being more likely to buy cheaper alternative groceries to save money. The Pitzer Investment Society is a student-run hedge fund that provides Pitzer students with hands-on experience in finance management.

American Economic Association Summer Program Scholarship

The American Economic Association Summer Program (AEASP) is an intensive, two-month residential program for students who can demonstrate that they will help diversify the economics profession.

Emilio Pantoja '24
Emilio Pantoja ’24

Emilio Pantoja ’24 earned a full scholarship to the American Economic Association Summer Program, where he hopes to explore how health and labor economics affect the most vulnerable populations in the US. Pantoja’s interest in the inequities in the economic system led him to apply for the scholarship. “I became interested in applying to the AEASP after reading over the goals and values of the program as they greatly align with my own,” said Pantoja, who is a mathematical economics major and plans to pursue a PhD in economics after graduation. “The program strives to give voice to traditionally underrepresented backgrounds through both broadening participation and increasing diversity in the field of economics.”

Read the full announcement for the AEASP scholarship here.

Capital Fellows Program

Freddy Cisneros '21
Freddy Cisneros ’21

Freddy Cisneros ’21 has been accepted to the Executive Fellowship Program, a 10-month public policy fellowship offered through Sacramento State University’s Capital Fellows Programs. Cisneros is one of eight members of an initial cohort of students from the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) who have graduated from Pitzer through the Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA program. The Executive Fellowship Program, a part of Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies, is an experiential education program that integrates high-level government work experience with academic and professional development. Fellows are placed with a mentor in one of the many executive offices of California’s executive branch, which include the office of the governor, constitutional offices, cabinet-level agencies, and departments. Read the full announcement of Cisneros’ fellowship here.

Reggie Bullock '22 wearing a gray jacket over a maroon dress shirt
Reggie Bullock ’22

Reggie Bullock ’22, who earned his degree through Pitzer’s Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA program, has been accepted to the Jesse Unruh California Assembly Fellowship, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious fellowship programs. Founded in 1957, the 11-month program under the Capital Fellows Program offers aspiring public servants the opportunity to directly participate in the legislative process and help shape public policy. “It’s a surreal moment in my life,” said Bullock. “When I sit back and reflect from my time beginning in the criminal justice system at 14 years old to now, just getting out after a 17-year sentence, it’s definitely surreal. I’m anxious to apply myself to something good.” Read the full announcement of Bullock’s fellowship here.

The Claremont Colleges Library Undergraduate Research Award (LURA)

The Library Undergraduate Research Award recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary original research and scholarship, including remarkable skill and creativity in the use of library and information resources. Students receive recognition and cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500 for their work.

Paloma Garcia ’25

Paloma Garcia ’25, who plans to major in art history, received The Claremont Colleges Library’s 9th Annual Library Undergraduate Research Award (LURA) for her paper, “Prometheus: The Timeless Symbol of Enlightenment.” Garcia’s paper explored how Greek mythology, classical art, and the rise of fascism in the 1930s influenced Mexican painter Jose Clemente Orozco’s mural of Prometheus in Frary Hall at Pomona College.

Critical Language Scholarship

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), a program of the US Department of State, is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college students to learn languages that are essential to America’s engagement with the world and critical to national security and economic prosperity.

Ariel Kivela
Ariel Kivela ’22

Ariel Kivela ’22, a politics and East Asian studies major, will study Mandarin Chinese through the CLS program. She looks forward to pairing Mandarin with her knowledge of Spanish and English, which Kivela says will allow her to speak to a majority of people in the world. Kivela is dyslexic, and part of her interest in Mandarin stemmed from how it uses logographic characters instead of a letter structure, which allows her to see language from a different perspective. Kivela previously studied abroad in China in summer 2019, although for this year’s CLS program, she will be engaging in the coursework virtually.

Kayla Mathurin
Kayla Mathurin ’24

Kayla Mathurin ’24, an international political economy major, has been studying Mandarin for eight years and will continue doing so through the CLS program. Ever since she began learning in the sixth grade, she has been curious to explore more about Chinese culture. Mathurin studied abroad in the summer of 2018 and 2019 while staying with a friend in China, where she visited an elementary school and saw how different the schooling, curriculum, and broader government system are compared to the US. During the CLS Program, she will focus on language proficiency and having conversations about everyday topics to expand beyond coursework.

Alex Maynard
Alex Maynard ’24

Alex Maynard ’24 was born in China, but she forgot the language when she moved to the US at age six. Since then, she has worked hard to regain her knowledge. Last summer, Maynard was working at a Chinese language immersion camp for high school students, and the camp counselors who had participated in the CLS program themselves encouraged her to apply. After growing up in a predominantly white area in Ohio, Maynard looks forward to traveling to Taiwan to learn more about her identity and culture. “Even though it’s Taiwan and not China, I still will be able to make that connection,” says Maynard. “I think that it will be interesting to learn about Chinese and Taiwanese government relationships, especially because I’m interested in political studies and economics as a combined major.”

Read the full announcement for the Critical Language Scholarship awardees here.

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship 

The dissertation fellowships are awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards go to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in the US, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

Cesar Vargas Nuñez ’14

Cesar Vargas Nuñez ’14 has received the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship to support his research for his PhD in political science from Stanford University. According to Vargas Nuñez, his dissertation explores two questions. The first: under what conditions and to what extent can the public—even those who have anti-immigrant views—be incentivized to support providing healthcare access to undocumented immigrants. The second: how do undocumented immigrants navigate being excluded from most government healthcare programs. Vargas Nuñez obtained his BA in political science from Pitzer College and previously received a Fulbright research grant in 2014–15 to investigate healthcare inequities in Spain.

Fulbright Fellowships

The Fulbright US Student Program, the largest international exchange program in the US, provides grants for students and young professionals to pursue individually designed study/research projects or participate in English Teaching Assistant Programs.

Kenneth Butler '22
Kenneth Butler ’22

Kenneth Butler ’22, an organizational studies major, has received a Fulbright to research the factors that facilitate social rehabilitation and reintegration at Luzira Prison in Uganda. As a member of the first cohort of incarcerated students from Pitzer’s Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA, Butler is uniquely suited to explore “convict criminology”—scholarship about criminology by formerly incarcerated people—and to investigate how the US can learn from the “system of co-governance” and humane conditions in Ugandan prisons. Upon his return to the US, Butler intends to attend graduate school and become a scholar-activist. Butler has been involved in the Inside-Out think tank, where he and other members first advocated for a pathway to a BA degree for incarcerated students.

Malaya Caligtan Tran '22
Malaya Caligtan-Tran ’22

Malaya Caligtan-Tran ’22, a self-designed Indigenous public health major and environmental analysis minor, has received a Fulbright to study in the Philippines. They will be examining the impact of privatization and resource extraction on Igorot communities in the Cordillera with particular attention to the region of Lepanto. Caligtan-Tran’s project will utilize oral history to understand varying Indigenous relationships to land and how these mines have affected their health. Using their previous experience with podcasts, zines, and short stories, Caligtan-Tran will collaborate with the study participants to create a community-accessible media project in addition to their scholarly research paper.

Millie Chi '22
Milly Chi ’22

Milly Chi ’22, an Asian American studies and organizational studies major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Taiwan. As the child of native-born Taiwanese parents, Chi is passionate about returning to her roots and incorporating her radical, social justice-based Asian American studies education into understanding Taiwanese culture and people. Chi will use art and other creative mediums in her process, both in the classroom and in the community, to bridge cultural gaps, empower students as agents of change in their communities, and develop relationships.

Diego Flores '22
Diego Flores ’22

Diego Flores ’22, a political science major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Mexico. As a Spanish language tutor at Pitzer, he has sought to create spaces of mutual respect and understanding to meet students where they are to foster an excitement for learning. A first-generation student from East Los Angeles, Flores grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and has visited extended family in Mexico throughout his life. During the Fulbright fellowship, Flores also plans to explore community art and its intersection with justice movements.

Michaela Fogarty '22
Michaela Noelle Swezey Fogarty ’22

Michaela Noelle Swezey Fogarty ’22, a psychology major and Spanish minor, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Spain. Fogarty was drawn to Pitzer and the Fulbright Fellowship because they share her values in intercultural exchange and mutual understanding. Fogarty has taken Inside-Out courses, and through the Prisoners Assistance Program in Nepal, she has virtually tutored kids living in children’s homes while their mothers face incarceration. Fogarty has studied Spanish since seventh grade and looks forward to gaining fluency while abroad. In Spain, she hopes to learn about the education system and how trilingualism is taught in Galician schools. Fogarty aspires to become a Spanish-fluent social worker and has a particular interest in the criminal justice system.

Ana Froom '22
Ana Froom ’22

Ana Froom ’22, a sociology major and art history minor, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Taiwan. Born in China and adopted by a family in the US, Froom is a lifelong student of languages—Mandarin chiefly among them—and has a strong curiosity about new experiences and cultures. Music has created many opportunities for Froom to engage with others and learn languages throughout her life. She was raised by music composers and professors and is a trained musician herself. As a teacher in Taiwan, Froom will incorporate song and dance into the classroom. In the future, Froom is interested in working with children on the autism spectrum as an occupational therapist.

Kiera Havill ’21

Kiera Havill ’21, a combined sociology and critical global studies major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Malawi. In Malawi, Havill will draw on her undergraduate studies of effective teaching methods. During her time at Pitzer, she researched high school teachers’ strategies to engage students and evoke their “inspiragination”—a term she coined to describe how educators can inspire students’ imaginations. Havill also played on the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Lacrosse team. Her own future aspirations include pursuing a doctorate in education and exploring filmmaking and directing.

Joshua Huui '22
Joshua Hui ’22

Joshua Hui ’22, a combined sociology and Asian American studies major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Taiwan. He has helped seniors to develop their theses at the Writing Center and helped elementary school children learn English as a second language in Jumpstart. In addition, he’s worked with immigrants preparing for their US citizenship exams. Hui looks forward to returning to the country of his father’s birth and engaging in the same process as his students, learning Mandarin and Taiwanese culture as they learn English and the cultures of English-speaking countries.

Em Kuhn '22
Em Kuhn ’22

Em Kuhn ’22, an environmental sociology and Spanish major, has received a Fulbright to conduct research in Ecuador. Kuhn traveled to the South American country on the Pitzer in Ecuador study abroad program in spring 2020. Before the pandemic cut Kuhn’s time there short, Kuhn volunteered with Yachay Wasi, a community primary school. The school first exposed Kuhn to how youth education and agroforestry gardening can help preserve Indigenous culture and food sovereignty. Kuhn’s research “will explore the cultural resilience of both urban and rural Kichwa farming communities through an ethnographic methodology based in participant observation and person-centered oral histories.”

Taylor Lehner '22
Taylor Lehner ’22

Taylor Lehner ’22, a biology major and Spanish minor, has received a Fulbright to conduct research in the University of Warsaw in Poland to learn how environmental stress, such as climate change or toxins, affect the cell. As a female first-generation STEM student, Lehner has a strong admiration for Poland as a leader for women in STEM and for Professor Joanna Kufel’s diverse group of scientists at the University of Warsaw. Having learned a lot about her heritage and family history from her Polish Jewish grandparents, Lehner looks forward to returning to Poland—80 years after her family left to escape the Holocaust—and strengthening her affinity to her heritage.

Alma McKown '22
Alma McKown ’22

Alma McKown ’22, a mathematics major, has received a Fulbright to conduct research in the University of Ouro Preto in Brazil to study ethnomathematics to make math accessible to a larger and more diverse population. By learning how to conduct ethnomathematics research and implement it in the classroom, McKown hopes to connect what she learns about ethnomathematics in Brazil to pre-historic mathematical practices in the American Southwest and to inform more engaging mathematics curricula in Native American communities. After the Fulbright Fellowship, McKown plans to further her studies with a master’s degree in archaeology.

Benjamin Sievers '22
Benjamin Sievers ’22

Benjamin Sievers ’22, a biology major, has received a Fulbright to conduct research in Cambodia about current approaches to measles elimination and attitudes toward self-vaccination for measles in remote boat communities in Phnom Penh’s Mekong Operational District. Measles eradication has been a part of Sievers’ family’s vision for three generations. His grandfather developed a dry powder, inhaled measles vaccination; now, working with his father and grandfather, Sievers has developed a dry powder measles vaccine that can be self-inhaled. Sievers has created a colorful whistle delivery device that he hopes will facilitate self-vaccination.

Justin Sleppy '21
Justin Sleppy ’21

Justin Sleppy ’21, an international and intercultural studies and sociology major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Botswana. During his time at Pitzer, Sleppy engaged in a semester of intensive study in four countries—Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe—on the cultural context of Southern Africa. He also studied abroad in Nepal just before the pandemic. Sleppy took a leave of absence to substitute teach in his hometown of Juneau, Alaska, to support students as a behavioral assistant and paraeducator. Sleppy also participated in the Global/Local Mentorship Program and became a representative for the Study Abroad and International Programs Committee at Pitzer. After the Fulbright, Sleppy plans to pursue a master’s degree in teaching.

Kaila Teague '22
Kaila Teague ’22

Kaila Teague ’22 has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Italy. Teague is a self-designed major in foreign language education, which includes fluency in Italian and Spanish as well as language pedagogy. In addition to teaching English at a middle school in Parma, Italy, during her fall 2019 semester abroad, she previously served as a research assistant on virtual language acquisition in the summer of 2020. She brings multiple perspectives, experiences, and intersectionalities to the Fulbright Fellowship and, through the fellowship, intends to focus on relationship and community building and finalizing plans to become an international education professional.

Read the full announcement for the Fulbright Fellowship awardees here.

JET Program

Founded in 1987, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program has sent more than 70,000 participants from around the globe to work and serve as cultural ambassadors in schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan. 

Matthew Brunstad '20 in dark blue dress jacket and tie and light blue collared shirt
Matthew Brunstad ’20

Matthew Brunstad ’20 has been accepted to the JET Program to teach English to high school students in Aomori, Japan, the northernmost city on the mainland. He hopes to join the school’s tennis and ski teams and plans to travel around Japan to discover new foods and historically significant landmarks. A double major in economics and geology, he was originally accepted to the program in 2020 but had to reapply after cancellations due to the pandemic. His longer-term ambitions include working in energy, sustainability, or aerospace. “I would not be here today without the support of many, many professors across the 5Cs.”

McLean Hospital Post-Baccalaureate Child and Adolescent Clinical Fellowship Program

The Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at McLean Hospital offers a two-year Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship Program for college graduates interested in pursuing a career in mental health. 

Addison Kay '21 wearing a beige McLean Hospital sweatshirt
Addison Kay ’21

Addison Kay ’21 has put his psychology major into action as a clinical educator in McLean Hospital’s post-baccalaureate program to teach therapy skills and coach adolescent boys and non-binary youth who have a history of self-harm/suicide attempts. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with adolescents who struggle with emotional dysregulation and to learn about how clinical psychology is carried out in the field,” said Kay. The program is shaped by McLean’s mission in clinical care, scientific investigation, training the next generation of mental health professionals, and serving the hospital and local communities. After the program, Kay plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work and continue working with families and adolescents. 

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Angel Barraza Estrada '23
Angel Barraza-Estrada ’24

Angel Barraza-Estrada ’24, a sociology major, plans to study the academic writing of first-generation low-income bilingual Latine students in high school and college and how the disruption in their bilingual development affects their English writing. Barraza-Estrada is a first-generation student from Pomona, CA, where, according to Barraza-Estrada, a majority of students are Latine and low-income, and many are learning English as a second language. He plans to interview students and teachers about bilingual education and will create workshops to encourage students to interact with both languages, especially in their writing. Barraza-Estrada intends to eventually get his doctorate in sociology.

Emily Kim '24
Emily Kim ’24

Emily Kim ’24, who intends to major in critical global studies and minor in data science, plans to research the voting motivations of college students of color in Texas and California. Kim, who is from Texas, is fascinated by the historically high voter turnout for the 2020 US presidential election, especially among college students. According to Kim, Texas and California have large populations of color, and their political climates are very different. Kim does not yet know what she will get her doctorate in, but she is currently interested in geography and population studies.

Ale Rodriguez
Ale Rodriguez ’24

Alé Rodriguez ’24, a sociology major, will study how medical disparities travel starting from the classroom and ending at the clinic. Rodriguez also hopes to understand how those disparities disrupt self-perceptions of health among marginalized communities, particularly Black and Indigenous people. Rodriguez considers the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship a way to develop their own perception of research and what is considered knowledge beyond publishing papers or books. “Being able to assert and reclaim space that was historically used to further marginalize and cause the assimilation of people like myself is important to me,” says Rodriguez. “As someone who is positioned in society the way that I am, it needs to be known that everything I’m able to produce and touch—that is decolonial work.”

Read the full announcement of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows here.

Napier Award for Creative Leadership

The Napier Initiative is a partnership between Pilgrim Place and the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges that encourages leadership for social change. Each of The Claremont Colleges may nominate up to three seniors to be Napier Fellows. These students have proven leadership abilities and proposals for post-graduation projects designed to create social change. Napier Fellows are invited to submit their project proposals to be considered for a Napier Award for $20,000.

Kenneth Butler '22
Kenneth Butler ’22

Kenneth Butler ’22, an organizational studies major, will establish a peace and reconciliation program through the Napier Award to bring together formerly incarcerated people whose lives have been impacted by gang culture. He will develop the program with Pitzer’s Institute for Global/Local Action and Study as well as the Reintegration Academy and the Prison Education Project. Butler plans to lay the foundation for conflict resolution and racial justice through workshops that incorporate environmental and social justice education. Butler will draw on his own experience with incarceration—he served 15 years before being paroled last summer—and in Pitzer’s Inside-Out courses in which “outside” college students and “inside” incarcerated students learn together in the same classroom.

Benjamin Sievers ’22

Benjamin Sievers ’22, a biology major, will use the Napier Award to seek to better understand how people living in a remote, itinerate boat community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, view measles outbreaks. “Measles may seem like ancient news for those of us in the US, but it kills more than 100,000 children every year in low- and middle-income countries, despite being completely preventable using an exceptionally safe and effective measles vaccine,” Sievers says. “I’m headed to Cambodia to interview itinerant ‘boat-dwelling’ citizens to understand how and why children are missing the vaccination and figure out a way to ensure they are protected in the future.” 

Read the full announcement of the Napier Award here.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The GRFP seeks to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.

Elena Cox ’20

Elena Cox ’20 is a graduate student in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science at the University of Nevada, Reno to study fire ecology and how wildfire impacts soil health and microbial processes. While at Pitzer, Cox was a member of the Claremont Climbing Team and Pitzer Outdoor Adventures and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on fire ecology and invasion biology. Cox was also the applied biostatistics teaching assistant at the W.M. Keck Science Department and a research assistant at Pomona College, where Cox extracted soil bacterial DNA in order to determine how wildfire and habitat type influence bacterial assemblage. The GRFP provides up to three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. 

Marya Ornelas '20 sits in a science lab and wears an orange shirt and light purple gloves.
Marya Ornelas ’20

Marya Ornelas ’20 plans to study and evolve viral genome encoded capping enzymes from emerging pathogenic viruses such as coronaviruses and poxviruses. According to Ornelas, “viral capping enzymes are critical for proper genome replication, protein translation, and evasion of the immune response.” Ornelas will develop platforms in yeast and pseudoviral systems to study the enzymes and identify attenuated variants or variants that can utilize non-natural substrates for the development of live attenuated vaccines. Ornelas is grateful to receive this five-year fellowship with the NSF, which will provide three years of financial support as she pursues her degree. “It is a testament to the incredible mentorship, support, and inspiration I have received from professors (especially professors from Keck!), family, and friends,” said Ornelas. “As a first-generation student, I would have never imagined I could be pursuing a PhD in chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; having the opportunities I have had at Pitzer and UIUC leaves me feeling profoundly grateful.” 

Northwestern University Summer Research Opportunity Program

The Summer Research Opportunity Program is a seven-week competitive research experience hosted by Northwestern University for sophomores and juniors from colleges and universities across the US.

Quentin Jenkins '23
Quentin Jenkins ’23

Quentin Jenkins ’23, a sociology major, has been accepted into the Northwestern University Summer Research Opportunity Program to research the school-to-prison pipeline with a focus on how Black LGBTQ youth are punished and criminalized differently in the education system. As a first-generation college student and a 2021 Mellon Mays fellow, Jenkins said his research interests stem from the inequities and inequalities he experienced growing up. “It is a great honor to engage in sociological research at one of the best research institutions in the world,” he said. “I would particularly like to thank my mentors, Dr. Alicia D. Bonaparte (Pitzer associate professor of sociology) and Dr. Marilyn Grell-Brisk (Pitzer professor of organizational studies) for always taking out the time to offer extremely valuable advice that has played an instrumental role in furthering my learning and motivation towards my career aspiration of professorship!”

Projects for Peace Award

The Projects for Peace program invites undergraduates from more than 90 US colleges and universities that participate in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that promote peace.

Kyle Greenspan '23
Kyle Greenspan ’23

Kyle Greenspan ’23 has been awarded a Projects for Peace grant for $10,000 to help facilitate Thai literacy education for elementary students in Isaan, Thailand’s largest and poorest region. The concept for Greenspan’s project, “Linking the Chain of Upward Mobility: Reducing Political Conflict in Thailand by Teaching Students How to Read Thai,” stemmed from the challenges that Greenspan faced in Isaan as an English teacher at Kamplapha Natawee School, where approximately one-third of his students could not read Thai. He will collaborate with a Bangkok-based nonprofit and the Kamplapha Natawee School to provide more opportunities for young students and create a new path of education at their school and other schools in the region.

Read the full announcement for the Projects for Peace Award here.

Rangel Scholar

The dissertation fellowships are awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program is a six-week summer program designed to provide undergraduate students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs, and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers. This program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the foreign service, women, and those with financial need.

Kayla Mathurin '24
Kayla Mathurin ’24

Kayla Mathurin ’24, an international political economy major, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, but was born in Okinawa, Japan. To stay connected to her hometown, she serves on the Hilltop Action Coalition, combating gentrification and uplifting the voices of low-income residents. At Pitzer, she represented the student body as the sophomore class president and will serve as the vice president of diversity in the upcoming year. She is a first-gen student, a member of Mixed Identity Exchange, and a member of the Executive Board for the Black Student Union. Kayla works in the Dean of Faculty’s Office as a student assistant. Her interest for global affairs aligns with her curiosity for language; Kayla is learning French and working towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese. She looks forward to exploring career pathways and deepening her understanding of international affairs as a Rangel Scholar.

Stanford Summer Research Program-Amgen Scholar

Juan Santos '23
Juan Santos ’23

Juan Santos ’23 has been chosen as a Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP)-Amgen scholar for an eight-week, research-intensive residential program at Stanford University. Santos, a double major in molecular biology and Spanish with a focus in literature, is interested in researching lung diseases. When asked what inspired him to apply to the program, Santos said: “A few years ago, my youngest brother suffered from a lung infection that was difficult to treat. Since then, I developed an interest in researching infections, disease-causing bacteria, and even new treatments to better combat such diseases.” In the SSRP-Amgen Scholars Program, participants are matched with a Stanford faculty member and a lab mentor to craft a research project.

Read the full announcement for the SSRP-Amgen Scholar program here.

The University of Michigan Future Public Health Leaders Program

The University of Michigan Future Public Health Leaders Program is a 10-week residential summer program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and designed to encourage underrepresented college students to consider careers in public health.

O’philia Le ’23

O’philia Le ’23, a combined major in anthropology and environmental analysis and a minor in Spanish, has been selected for the Future Public Health Leaders Program at the University of Michigan, funded by the CDC. Participants receive leadership training, orientation to the public health disciplines, and real-world work experience. The program includes public health and career mentorship, hands-on and practical field experience, seminars, and lectures and workshops with public health leaders. Le will be working with Habitat for Humanity Huron Valley in Washtenaw County on safer housing and affordable homeownership for families with low incomes.

Venture For America Fellowship

Venture For America (VFA) is a national nonprofit dedicated to creating economic opportunity in American cities by equipping the next generation of entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

Riley Knowles '22
Riley Knowles ’22

Riley Knowles ’22, a double major in economics and human-centered design, has been selected as a Venture for America (VFA) Fellow. VFA’s two-year fellowship gives recent college graduates the chance to work a full-time salaried job at a startup while growing professionally with other fellows and learning how to build and run a business. Knowles will be joining DebtBook in Charlotte, NC, as an account management analyst. DebtBook provides cloud-based software for finance teams in local government, higher education, and healthcare. Knowles said: “I would like to extend a special thank you to my advisors at the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (the Hive) for supporting my discovery of human-centered design, Professor Bizuneh at Pitzer for encouraging me to apply for VFA and explore opportunities to use my economics degree in the startup world, as well as my professors, friends, and teammates for their support along the way.” 

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the US and is awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 41 partner institutions.

Chloe Ortiz ’22

Chloe Ortiz ’22, a political studies major, has received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel to Italy, Ireland, Brazil, and Australia for her project, “Climate Pilgrimage: Catholic Ecotheology in Action.” “Exploring Catholic human-nature relationships, I will study how those narratives reconcile with Indigenous spirituality and how they can be used to take action toward climate change mitigation,” says Ortiz. According to Ortiz, ecotheology is “a field of study that lies at the nexus of religion and the environment,” incorporating both her academic and personal interests.

Read the full announcement for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship here.