Pitzer Announces Selection of 11 Recipients of 2024 Fulbright Awards

Nine Pitzer College seniors, one Class of 2022 graduate, and one Class of 2023 graduate have been offered 2024–25 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants.

Five of the recipients will teach English in countries including Laos, Sri Lanka, Spain, and Taiwan. The other six recipients will conduct a variety of self-designed research projects around the globe.

For 15 consecutive years, Pitzer has been named as a leading producer of Fulbright recipients by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Pitzer’s 2024–25 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awardees are:

Neha Basu

Neha Basu ’24, a psychology and sociology double major, will conduct research in India for her project, “In Pursuit of Interstitial Spatial Justice: Street Vending in Kolkata.” Basu will examine street food vendors’ interactions with the law and what the local vending landscape reveals about conceptions of public space, culture, and economics. She will use archival research and a participatory action methodology, interviewing local vendors and government officials. This project builds on her work with street-vending communities as a CASA Pitzer Research Fellow with the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

Sahar Dabirian

Sahar Dabirian ’24, a public health major and Spanish minor, will teach English in the La Rioja region of Spain. A child of Muslim immigrants, Dabirian intends to provide representation of the “insider outsider” cultural experience while utilizing her multilinguistic background in English, Spanish, and Persian to celebrate diversity in the curricula. While at Pitzer, Dabirian served as a resident assistant and president of the Middle Eastern Student Association and studied abroad in the Pitzer Summer Program on Health and Health Care in Costa Rica.

Ava Francis-Hall

Ava Francis-Hall ’24, a political studies major and economics minor, will conduct the study, “Politics of Care: Life for Returnee Migrants with Chronic Kidney Disease.” The project will investigate the economic and social conditions of returnee Nepali migrant laborers from Malaysia and Gulf countries diagnosed with kidney disease. Francis-Hall will examine this issue through the lens of dialysis infrastructure, personal dynamics of care, and family economics and community support. The project is informed by her time in Nepal with Pitzer’s study abroad program.

Erica Hjelle

Erica Hjelle ’24, a psychology major and religious studies minor, will teach English in Laos. Hjelle has been influenced by coursework in East and Southeast Asian religion and by her immersive cultural and English teaching experience in Pitzer’s Nepal study abroad program. In addition to teaching English in Laotian schools, Hjelle will organize language and cross-cultural activities by applying an individuality-focused pedagogy.

Skylar Masuda

Skylar Masuda ’24, a classics and human-centered design double major, will conduct research in Turkey for her project, “Return of Anatolian Artifacts to Turkish Museums: A Design Impact Analysis.” Masuda plans to work with the Turkey Design Council on an interdisciplinary analysis of the display and community impact of repatriated artifacts. Masuda will pull together stories of returned artifacts, their role in these museums, and their community reception. Masuda has studied ancient Greek and is studying Turkish to enhance her cultural engagement through conversation, research, and travel.

Ellie Montoro

Elizabeth (Ellie) Montoro ’24, a major in philosophy, politics, and economics, will conduct research in Italy for the project, “Italian Policy: Impacts on Mass Maritime Migration in the Mediterranean.” The project examines how current Italian maritime policies related to mass migration in the Mediterranean impact NGO rescue vessels, volunteers, migrants, and Southern Italian residents. Her experiences with the U.S. Coast Guard and Centro Immigrazione Asilo Cooperazione Onlus in Parma have given her substantive insight on international maritime law and migration. Montoro will spend the summer at the Middlebury Italian Language School in preparation for her research.

Lauren Robles

Lauren Robles ’24, a political studies major and Chicanx Latinx studies minor, will teach English in Taiwan. Robles’ interest in teaching stems from her deep passion for learning as well as her positionality and experience working with students of diverse ethnic and learning backgrounds. Robles has an interest in learning Mandarin while being immersed in local Taiwanese culture. Having previously studied in Spain, Robles will use her Fulbright experience to expand her knowledge of comparative politics and later apply it to a career in educational policy.

Laila Scarborough-Scharf

Laila Scarborough-Scharf ’23, a critical global studies major and media studies minor, will teach English in the Canary Islands. Having previously studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain, Scarborough-Scharf brings to her English Teaching Assistantship substantial country knowledge and experience in writing, tutoring, and teaching English to Spanish-speaking students. She is eager to incorporate media arts in the classroom as a foundation for cultural analysis and exchange through a collaborative classroom environment. Her future plans include working with New York City organizations that use media arts for advocacy and encouraging intercultural dialogue through art and education.

Tommy Shenoi

Tommy Shenoi ’24, a double major in food and agricultural studies and environmental analysis, has been granted the Fulbright/Casten Family Foundation Award for a master’s degree in world food studies at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. The degree offers an interdisciplinary approach to gastronomy, international food policy, and food sustainability. Shenoi’s project proposes to research the effects of climate change on Italian fungi, including truffles and porcini mushrooms, and contextualize the influence of the Slow Food Movement.

Sarah Snyder

Sarah Snyder ’24, an environmental analysis and organizational studies double major, will teach English in Timor-Leste. A participant in Pitzer’s study abroad program, she has lived with host families in Tanzania and South Africa. In Timor-Leste, Snyder will engage in a cultural exchange with her students and volunteer at UmaAmerika. A former head fellow at Pitzer’s Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability, she plans to continue exploring local agriculture systems, nature preservation, and resource extraction in the face of climate change and will pursue a career in law related to land-use, human rights, and environmental violations.

Bobby Stitt

Robert (Bobby) Stitt ’22, a double major in economics and environmental analysis with a minor in studio art, will conduct research for the project, “Efficient Solar Regulation: Bridging the Gap,” in Sri Lanka. Stitt will address energy efficiency issues in solar irrigation systems with the aim of empowering farmers, optimizing equipment manufacturing, and aligning government subsidies with efficiency goals. He comes to this project with rich academic and professional knowledge in environmental and development economics, solar power, and irrigation.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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