MECHANISM Scholars Program

Through the generous support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the MECHANISM Scholars Program will provide both scholarship and academic support for academically talented students who apply for financial aid, demonstrate financial need, plan to major in mathematics or science, and are US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Program will allow Pitzer College to provide 16 students, 8 eaMECHANISM 1ch from students entering in 2015 and 2016, with up to four years of scholarship support, as long as the student remains in one of the targeted majors and in good academic standing. The scholarship, when combined with the other federal, state and institutional grant programs, will result in a grant heavy financial aid package that will allow MECHANISM Scholars to attend Pitzer with significantly smaller student loan amounts than would normally be assumed.

The scholarship is funded through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program of the NSF with the goal of enabling scholarship recipients to enter the STEM workforce or a STEM graduate program upon successful completion of their degree.

The first MECHANISM Scholars at Pitzer College are members of the Class of 2019. Learn more about them and their experiences.

Dates and Deadlines

  • February 1, 2016 – Applications for the MECHANISM Scholars Program are due via email to
  • February 25, 2016 – Admission counselors and faculty review MECHANISM applications.
  • April 1, 2016 – Decision letters for the MECHANISM Scholars Program are mailed by this date.

Who is eligible?

  • Students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, and submit all financial aid requirements by the posted deadlines.  Students must qualify for financial aid.
  • US Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Students who possess an academic aptitude for science & mathematics based on course work, grades, recommendation letters and extra-curricular activities.
  • Students who demonstrate an interest in majoring in math or science.

How do I apply?

  • Students may apply to the MECHANISM Scholars Program by downloading the application from this webpage once it becomes available in the fall of 2015.
  • The MECHANISM application consists of one short essay regarding your interest in the STEM fields and your career goals.
  • Students must complete the Common Application and submit all financial aid documents on time.
  • The MECHANISM application is due on Monday, February 1, 2016.
  • Students must include their full legal name and Common Application ID number on all application materials.
  • To fill out the application, download and save the blank form BEFORE filling it out. Fill out the form and save it again before submitting it to Pitzer.
  • All applications must be emailed to

How do I maintain eligibility?

  • Be enrolled full time in a mathematics or science degree program at the College.  Enrollment must be full-time for each semester a student receives the scholarship.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, both overall and in one’s major.
  • Participate in most of the Program activities, with reasonable exceptions.
  • Reapply for financial aid each year by the posted deadlines.

Features of the Program

MECHANISM is an acronym for Mentors Enable, Connect, Help, Advocate, Nurture, Intervene, Sustain, and Motivate. It reflects the process by which our dedicated faculty, staff, and student mentors, using the research findings from Pitzer Professor Roberta Espinoza’s book Pivotal Moments: How Educators Can Put All Students on the Path to College, will provide MECHANISM Scholars with significant support and guidance in order to ensure optimal use of educational resources and learning experiences available here at Pitzer College. These resources and experiences include:

Mentoring and Lifelong Friendships

MECHANSIM 2From day one of the Program, MECHANISM Scholars will be introduced to faculty, staff, and other students who will provide advice, answer questions, and serve as a resource in many areas throughout their college careers and beyond.

Unique Opportunities

MECHANISM Scholars will be assisted in seeking out opportunities that will enhance their education and contribute to their academic and career goals. These include participation in undergraduate research, study abroad, internships with science-based companies, assistance with applying for postgraduate fellowships or jobs in a STEM field, and help with finding and applying to the best graduate and professional programs.

Academic and Career-Based Support

MECHANSIM 3MECHANISM Scholars will be provided with multiple resources to help them thrive in their academic work. Examples include tutoring and supplemental instruction in challenging science courses, access to study groups, one-on-one assistance with writing assignments, research opportunities with faculty, and week-long summer immersion programs in the summers preceding their first and second years of college. Scholars will also receive financial support to travel to and present their scientific research at professional conferences & meetings.

The W.M. Keck Science Department

jsd-keck W. M. Keck Science Department

Pitzer students complete their science majors in the W.M. Keck Science Department, a shared program of Pitzer, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna Colleges. The Department offers fourteen majors in diverse areas of science, state-of-the-art science facilities, an innovative science curriculum, and the combined resources of three of the colleges within the Claremont Colleges Consortium.

Explore Some More…

We believe that the combination of all that the MECHANISM Scholars Program has to offer along with the hallmark benefits of a Pitzer education will result in an amazing college experience for our scholarship recipients. We encourage you to learn more about Pitzer College on the Admissions website.

If you need further information about the MECHANISM Scholars Program, please write to

Helpful Links

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

Apply to Pitzer

Pitzer College

W.M. Keck Science Department

Claremont Colleges Consortium

Pitzer College Office of Admission & Financial Aid

Financial Aid at Pitzer