Claremont, Calif. (June 14, 2023—UPDATED July 11)—During the 2022–23 academic year, Pitzer students and alumni earned a multitude of awards and fellowships to conduct research, teach English, create social change, engage communities, and pursue their academic interests around the globe.
To date, nine students have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships, two students have received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and one student earned a Projects for Peace Award. One student accepted a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship to study U.S. soccer culture, and another became Pitzer’s first Marshall Scholar.
Out of four students who were among this year’s Napier Fellows, one was chosen as a recipient of the Napier Award. Two students received curatorial apprenticeships, and one student won a prize from The Claremont Colleges Library. The Hive provided grants to three Pitzer students to pursue creative projects. Thanks to the Margo Okazawa-Rey Summer Fellowship, one student produced a film about her Vietnamese mother in the salon industry.
Two students joined McLean Hospital’s Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship Program, and another student received a fellowship with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. A Class of 2018 alumnus earned a Presidential Management Fellowship.
The following offers a brief overview of some of this year’s recipients.
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College received a grant from the Getty Foundation to support the AllPaper Seminar, a multi-year program to introduce emerging professionals of diverse backgrounds to the field of works on paper (prints, drawings, and photographs).
Sabina Eastman ’23 learned the ins and outs of drawing as an AllPaper Seminar Fellow. A double major in art history and studio art concentrating in curatorial studies and surrealism, Eastman engaged in collector visits and hands-on learning with established professionals as a member of the second-ever AllPaper Seminar cohort. Newly graduated from Pitzer, Eastman is pursuing a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art.
Benjamin Godsill ’00 and Anna Burns Student Apprenticeship Award
Available to first-generation and students of color, this award provides in-depth curatorial apprenticeships with the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and Fulcrum Arts.
Diego Borgsdorf Fuenzalida ’24 is an anthropology and Spanish major at Pitzer and works with LACE. His thesis project addresses the return of objects and archival documents from the Chilean exile that was triggered by the Pinochet dictatorship to cultural institutions in Chile. Based on Borgsdorf Fuenzalida’s recent fieldwork at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in Santiago, Chile, this research contributes to studies of object repatriation, memorialization, and nation-building in museums.
Jaspa Ureña ’24 is an abolitionist educator, DJ, and anti-disciplinary artist whose visual illustrations are made exclusively with Instagram’s story function. They are an Africana studies major with an art minor at Pitzer. As a neurodivergent food justice advocate and former organic farmer, they are excited about their curatorial apprenticeship with Fulcrum Arts.
Read the full announcement of the Benjamin Godsill ’00 and Anna Burns Student Apprenticeship Award.
The Claremont Colleges Library Undergraduate Research Award (LURA)
The LURA recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary original research and scholarship, including remarkable skill and creativity in the use of library and information resources. Students receive cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.
Aidan Henrikson ’25 received The Claremont Colleges Library’s 10th Annual LURA for the paper “Warren County Democrats: The Urban and Rural Divide.” Henrikson’s paper examines the internal party dynamics of the Warren Democratic Party in Upstate New York. The county comprises the city of Glens Falls and the rural townships around Lake George in the Adirondacks. According to Henrikson’s paper, the Warren County Democrats’ overemphasis on national and state politics and overrepresentation of certain populations (like the teacher’s union, rather than their locality), causes it to neglect and alienate its rural communities and hence party support.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the largest international exchange program in the U.S., provides grants for students and young professionals to pursue individually designed study/research projects or participate in English Teaching Assistant Programs.
Alyssa Dunn ’23 is an organismal biology major who will conduct research in Poland on blood-borne infections, parasites, and coinfection dynamics in rodents. “Greater research on coinfection is critical for increasing understanding of how parasites are transmitted and treated,” Dunn explained in her application. “My project aims to provide insight into how the vast network of parasites and diseases interact with each other as well as with their hosts.”
Jack Friedman ’23 will teach English in Uruguay as he explores the country’s culture and immerses himself in its rural and urban environments. Fluent in English and Spanish, Friedman is looking forward to using his bilingual abilities during his Fulbright program. A writing and rhetoric major, he plans to draw on his Pitzer teaching and tutoring experiences as a Writing Center Fellow to support his Uruguayan students.
Amaya Gustave ’23 will teach English in Mexico as she continues to expand her interest in the diversity of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican cultures, pre-colonial history, and ecosystems. An organizational studies major, Gustave has previous teaching and mentoring experience with the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as teaching while participating in Pitzer’s study abroad program in Ecuador.
Ariel Kivela ’23 will teach English in Taiwan and looks forward to sharing her personal and unique approach to learning English. That approach has been influenced by Kivela’s struggles with dyslexia. With a self-designed major that enabled her to develop an understanding of Mandarin Chinese and East Asian studies, Kivela will also spend her time in Taiwan immersing herself in its culture, language, and politics.
O’philia Le ’23 will teach English in Taiwan as she seeks to continue building bridges between communities of learners and to create compassionate spaces in which this learning occurs. A sociocultural anthropology and environmental analysis double major, Le plans to pursue a future career as a public health professional and believes that educational training goes hand in hand with public health awareness and community building.
Shraya Poetti ’23 will conduct research in Spain on the political dynamics affecting efforts by various groups to create affordable housing. Her research will be aimed at a specific question: Should affordable housing be framed as a partisan or ideological issue? A double major in political science and psychology, Poetti plans to analyze various facets of the housing justice movement. The goal, she explained in her application, “will be to construct a picture of the fight for a comprehensive ley de vivienda in Andalusia, and state partisans’ place in it.”
Sergio Quechol ’23 has been awarded a Fulbright to study the art of racialized travesti and trans femmes in Brazil and to explore how artmaking can serve as a strategy of agency and care. A double major in Latin American & Caribbean studies and gender feminist studies, Quechol explained in their application how “the way we often come to know gender non-conforming identities is through stories about violence.” In response to that, Quechol wishes to conduct research on other non-violent forms of recognition of these communities, stating how “there is a dearth of scholarship on how joy and care are central and complementary to these identities.”
Elliot Raskin ’23 will teach English in Tajikistan as he continues to explore activities that foster mutual learning, empathy, and intercultural understanding. “When presented with the possibility of teaching in my family’s language of origin,” Raskin explained in his application, “I immediately knew that the ETA in Tajikistan was right for me. Much of my training and teaching experience has centered on roundtable discussions and activities that foster mutual learning, empathy, and intercultural understanding; these values are the pillars that I hope to structure my American Space and pedagogy upon.”
Jocelyn Vega-Robledo ’23 will teach English in Portugal as she embarks on her post-undergraduate studies as an educator. A sociology and Chicanx Latinx studies double major, Vega-Robledo has served in leadership opportunities with several Pitzer groups and organizations, including the Latinx Student Union and Presidential Search Committee. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, she conducted research on the parental involvement experiences of Latinx farmworkers and how they contribute to their children’s educational trajectories.
Read the full Fulbright Fellowship announcement here.
The Hive at The Claremont Colleges Grants
The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (the Hive)’s student creativity grants have enabled creative collaboration for Pitzer and Claremont Colleges community members.
Natasha Gardiner-Feldman ’23 and Timi Balogun CMC’24 received the Hive’s student creativity grant to organize the third annual PZ Threads 5C Fashion Show. Hosted by the Claremont Colleges sustainable fashion magazine known as PZ Threads, the show presented the sustainable clothing collections of 10 Claremont Colleges student designers. See the 2022–23 edition of PZ Threads.
Ellie Griffin ’23, Paris Masiel CMC’23, and Jason Nguyen PO’24 received the grant to produce “Corners,” a short narrative film that is a poignant, dialogue-driven story focused on characters who are faced with the cruel nature of fate and how they react to it in their own distinct ways.
Ryan Lillestrand ’23 received the grant to examine surfing and environmentalism through the project “Shaping Alaia: Beauty and Simplicity in the Waves.” From imperialism to colonialism, from coastal land rights disputes to the current environmental crisis, politics has interwoven into surfing’s global story. Historic surf craft is explored by shaping two Alaia boards, one to the specifications of the original Hawaiian boards, and one that reflects the resurgence of Alaias in the past 20 years.
The project “Wildcrafting, Art with Nature, and the Ethics of Foraging” by Tommy Shenoi ’24 involves the exploration, craftsmanship, and development of wildcrafting art pieces through several art modalities (cyanotypes, suminagashi, native plant and mushroom dyes). Shenoi builds a perspective (influenced by different locations) on whether and when it is appropriate to forage and wildcraft and identifies ethical ways to wildcraft (including reciprocity and utilizing invasive species versus natives).
Read the full announcement of the Hive’s student creativity grant recipients.
Kallick Community Service Award
Funded by Pitzer alum Deborah Kallick ’78, the $500 award goes to each student who has completed 100 or more community engagement hours during the academic year.
Recognized by Pitzer’s Community Engagement Center, Kallick Award recipients have strived for social change, whether by leading writing workshops, combining athletics and mental wellness, launching community composting, or producing reentry resources for formerly incarcerated and homeless people.
Read about the spring 2023 Kallick Awardees and the fall 2022 Kallick Awardees.
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Trabajadoras Fellowship
LCLAA launched the Trabajadoras Campaign in 2012 to raise awareness about the Latina pay gap and to fight for equal pay and dignified conditions for Latinas on the job.
Michelle Hernandez ’24 is a double major in sociology and Chicanx/Latinx studies and LCLAA’s 2023 Trabajadoras fellow. Hernandez is a proud Oaxaqueña and low-income, first-generation student of color. She is passionate about uplifting the voices of women of color in her community. Their research centers on first-generation college students and immigrant paternal/maternal figures in the U.S. and the “enseñansas” that are passed down in assimilating to the U.S. This research is inspired by their immigrant maternal figure, who is a domestic worker.
The Marshall Scholarship is a prestigious, highly competitive award that funds up to three years of graduate study in any discipline at any British university.
Dominic Arzadon ’23 is among 41 Marshall Scholars in this year’s group of recipients and the first Pitzer student to ever receive the award. Arzadon plans to pursue an MPhil in environmental change and management at Oxford University for his two-year program. “It has more meaning for me not just as a First Gen student but also as an immigrant myself considering that the award is only for U.S. citizens,” Arzadon explained. Arzadon, who moved with his family from the Philippines to Hawaii when he was six, is majoring at Pitzer in environmental analysis and critical global studies with a minor in Asian American studies.
Read the full announcement of the Marshall Scholarship.
McLean Hospital Post-Baccalaureate Child and Adolescent Clinical Fellowship Program
The Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital offers a two-year Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship Program for college graduates interested in pursuing a career in mental health.
Annie Lewis ’23 will put her psychology major into action as a mental health specialist at Franciscan Children’s as part of the fellowship. “I cannot wait to further my clinical knowledge in such a unique environment,” said Lewis. She gives a special thanks to Pitzer Professor Marcus Rodriguez and McLean Hospital Director of Training and Staff Development, Child and Adolescent Division Fairlee C. Fabrett for their support.
Morgane Monjauze ’23, a psychology major and English and world literature minor, will work at McLean Hospital at 3East Merck for her fellowship. “I cannot wait to learn from and work alongside inspiring mental health professionals, gaining hands-on experience and strengthening my skill set in clinical psychology,” said Monjauze. She also thanks Rodriguez and Fabrett for their mentorship and guidance.
The Napier Initiative is a partnership between the local Pilgrim Place senior community and The Claremont Colleges to recognize graduating seniors who are committed to social justice. Napier Fellows are invited to submit their project proposals to be considered for a Napier Award.
Danny Camarena ’23 and Jorge Angel Lizarraga ’23: Their project proposes the creation of a self-help space in Los Angeles County juvenile probation camps to teach juveniles practical life skills that are based in spiritual principles. To create a space for personal self-development, 16 weekly workshops will encourage constructive dialogues on race, literacy, and political consciousness to bring about needed change in their relationships and help them to imagine a future free of gangs and violence.
Michelle Muturi ’23: After looking at the plain landscape and environment of three schools on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, Muturi proposes to make eco-bricks from used plastic bottles filled with sand/plastic to beautify these schools. The project, which will be done by volunteers and students from the schools, will include benches, decorative fences, tree guards, and flower planters to improve aesthetics and create a joyous, child-friendly atmosphere.
Sergio Quechol ’23: Making art can provide a strategy for agency, care, and joy for trans women communities in Brazil. Quechol plans three stages within the project: strengthening knowledge of LGBT+ studies through cultural immersion; constructing and offering a curriculum for travesti and trans femmes; and culminating in a presentation of art pieces made by participating students as a way of illuminating the presence of travesti and trans femmes Brazilians.
Read the full announcement of the Napier fellows.
Muturi received the Napier Award of $20,000 to implement her eco-bricks project. “Winning this award is a tremendous achievement for me,” said Muturi, a biochemistry major who served as 2022–23 Pitzer Student Senate president. “It means that a vision that has been lingering in my mind every time I visit home, wishing I could be of service to schoolchildren and improve their environment, will now turn into a reality.”
Read the full announcement of the Napier Award.
Margo Okazawa-Rey (MOR) Summer Fellowship
The Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies at The Claremont Colleges established the MOR Summer Fellowship to encourage students to implement community-based, creative, or research projects that integrate social justice, multi-racial solidarity, and feminism.
Keely Nguyen ’23 produced the short film “Kathy Lê Mao,” which presents her mother’s hair and nail salon and seeks to counter negative representations of Vietnamese salon workers. Nguyen’s mother (whom the film is named after) discusses navigating the aftermath of the Vietnam War, assimilating to the U.S., and working in the beauty industry alongside Vietnamese immigrants. “Due to the negative representation of Vietnamese salon workers, I work to combat the stereotypes, from the lackluster accents to mock workers and the ‘yellow peril,’” said Nguyen. “I’m also giving a platform for my mom to speak out against stigmas.”
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my identity, through the lens of my mom, and the harsh conditions of being an immigrant and working in the beauty service industry dominated by an ethnic niche,” continued Nguyen. “This was very healing in a way that I could embody theories of healing/transformative justice into praxis taught at Pitzer College and The Claremont Colleges.”
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF)
The MMUF program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the ranks of institutions of higher learning.
Analise Pugh ’25, an American studies major, was selected for the 2023 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program. With support from The Claremont Colleges MMUF program, Pugh will work with Scripps College Professor Wendy Cheng on a research project titled “Soccer is Life: The role of youth soccer in disciplining citizens and upholding the U.S. empire.” Pugh plans to pursue a doctoral degree in American studies when she graduates.
Read the full announcement of the MMUF here.
Presidential Management Fellowship
Established over 45 years ago by Executive Order, the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) is the federal government’s flagship leadership development program.
Peter Hansen ’18 received the two-year fellowship to work for the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) as a grants management specialist, helping invest directly in African grassroots organizations and social entrepreneurs. “Included within my role is the opportunity to travel to Africa multiple times a year,” said Hansen. “I spent the first six years of my life in Lagos, Nigeria, and have not been back to the continent since 2002. This feels like a full circle moment!”
Read the full announcement of the PMF here.
Projects for Peace
The Projects for Peace program invites undergraduates from colleges and universities that participate in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that promote peace.
Sanya Dhama ’24 was awarded $10,000 by Projects for Peace to create an educational task force and develop a curriculum to improve public health decision-making for students in Inland Empire school districts. Dhama’s project, “Youth Health Education to Empower and Protect,” will bring together health professionals, epidemiologists, pedagogists, and stakeholders including teachers and students. They plan to create a field-tested curriculum that provides students with public health information that is nonpartisan and science-based with the goal of bringing people and communities together.
Read the full announcement of the Projects for Peace Award here.
Newman Civic Fellowship
Sanya Dhama ’24 (above) also was named as a recipient of the 2023-2024 Newman Civic Fellowship by Campus Compact, a national coalition of college and university presidents. The Newman Civic Fellows Award recognizes college student leaders dedicated to finding solutions for challenges facing their communities. For Dhama, that effort to find solutions has involved understanding the role of higher education institutions to advocate for students, allowing students to grow, learn, and interact in an environment in which they feel safe and supported. One of the factors in her selection as a fellowship recipient was her work with state assembly members Jesse Gabriel and Cristina Garcia on the draft as well as gathering support for the passing of AB-2683, which calls for increased localized training and resources for survivors of incidences of sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) on college campuses. Learn more about the Newman Civic Fellowship
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the U.S.
An environmental policy/economics combined major, Thomas Martinez ’23 will travel to France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey for his project, “Community From Scratch: Building Foodways for Climate Refugees.” The goal of his project, Martinez explained, will be to participate in community projects in each country he visits and discover the best way to construct climate-resilient food systems that encourage stability and community growth “for people who are often displaced by climate-related stressors.”
An environmental analysis and critical global studies major, Ella Meyer ’23 will travel to Chile, Italy, Japan, Nepal, and New Zealand for her project, “Confronting Water Fear: Pathways to Resilience [Through]-Hiking.” Meyer said her project will focus on understanding community resilience. She will conduct long-distance backpacking (known as thru-hiking, which the title of her project refers to) in each of the five countries and study how communities along the trails respond to changes in their water resources.
Read the full announcement of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship here.