If this year’s crop of Pitzer award winners is any indication, that future is in good hands

Early 20th century British labor leader Tom Mann gave us the words in the headline above, and what he said couldn’t be more timely or true than it is today. As the world faces numerous challenges involving human rights, the environment, mental health and well-being, politics, and much more, Pitzer students pursued award-winning research and related projects during the 2022–23 academic year that just might make a difference in the future.


Analise Pugh ’25 is an American studies major who was chosen for the 2023 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program. With support from The Claremont Colleges MMUF program, Pugh is working 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.


Anthropology and Spanish major Diego Borgsdorf Fuenzalida ’24 and abolitionist educator and Africana Studies major (with an art minor) Jaspa Ureña ’24 both received Benjamin Godsill ’00 and Anna Burns Student Apprenticeship awards, which provided them with in-depth curatorial apprenticeships with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and Fulcrum Arts.


Dominic ArzadonDominic Arzadon ’23 became the first Pitzer student to ever receive a Marshall Scholarship, a highly competitive award that funds up to three years of graduate study in any discipline at any British university. Arzadon will pursue an MPhil in environmental change and management at Oxford University.


Aidan Henrikson ’25 has received The Claremont Colleges Library’s 10th Annual Library Undergraduate Research Award for the paper “Warren County Democrats: The Urban and Rural Divide,” which examines the internal party dynamics of the Warren Democratic Party in Upstate New York. Henrikson shows how this party’s overemphasis on national and state politics and on overrepresentation of certain populations has resulted in alienating rural communities and eroding their support.

Nairobi school improvement project

Transforming trash: These students and volunteers in Nairobi are involved in Michelle Muturi’s ’23 exciting school improvement project that uses ecobricks.


After looking at the plain landscape and environment of three schools on the outskirts of her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya, Michelle Muturi ’23 proposed using ecobricks from used plastic bottles to beautify the schools and improve the surroundings. Her project was selected for a $20,000 Napier Award through the Napier Institute, which is the result of a partnership between the local Pilgrim Place senior community and The Claremont Colleges.


Ryan Lillestrand ’23 was among this year’s recipients of student creativity grants from The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (known as the Hive), which support creative collaborations between Pitzer and other Claremont Colleges community members. Lillestrand used his grant to examine surfing and environmentalism with the project “Shaping Alaia: Beauty and Simplicity in the Waves.” Historic surf craft was explored by Lillestrand through the shaping of two alaia surfboards (traditional Hawaiian boards made from wood), one to the specifications of the original Hawaiian boards and one that reflects a resurgence of these boards over the last 20 years.


Sanya DhamaSanya Dhama ’24, Pitzer’s current Student Senate President, 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 school districts in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Dhama’s project, “Youth Health Education to Empower and Protect,” brings together health professionals, teachers, students, and others to create a field-tested curriculum that provides students with public health information that is nonpartisan and science-based.