Lillian Barrett-O’Keefe ’14, Admission Fellow
Lilli was born in the Chicago area and graduated from Evanston Township High School. At Pitzer she is pursuing a double major in Environmental Analysis and a self-designed major in Global-Local Community Development Through Soccer. During her time at Pitzer Lilli has played on the Varsity Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Soccer Team, as well as in the 5C intramural soccer league. Following her freshman year, Lilli received a Mellon Research Grant to travel to and study the Women’s World Cup in Germany. During her sophomore year, Lilli co founded Los Angeles’ first community soccer program for women at risk of domestic violence. The following summer, Lilli traveled on an Environmental Analysis Mellon grant to Nairobi, Kenya. While there, through organized soccer events, she founded an NGO to encourage community children to utilize sustainable waste practices. The following year, Lilli was chosen to participate in the Fulbright-Hayes research grant in Kathmandu, Nepal. There, she studied cross-cultural pedagogy. This upcoming year, Lilli plans to apply for a Fulbright and Watson fellowship in the hopes of continuing her research surrounding community building through soccer. During her free time she likes to take naps and go on long walks as she listens to podcasts. Despite getting sunburned easily, she still loves living in Southern California.
Leonardo Flores ‘14, Admission Fellow
Leonardo was born and raised in East Los Angeles, CA where he graduated from the Bishop Mora Salesian High School. Now a senior at Pitzer, Leonardo is double majoring in Psychology and Gender and Feminist Studies. Throughout his years in college, Leonardo has busied himself by working as a Diversity Intern, has pursued an internship every semester, and become involved in the ethical execution of business within community settings. The summer between his freshman and sophomore year he studied abroad in Botswana Africa, conducting field work exploring women’s human rights- contrasting rural and city settings. Leonardo has also spent his summers in Chicago where he worked as a development intern and project manager for Volunteers of America. After college Leonardo plans to pursue a Masters Degrees in Social Work and Cultural Studies. He eventually wishes to open his own consulting firm focused on culturally sensitive and contextualized advertising and marketing for Community Based Organizations. In his free time Leonardo is extremely passionate about identity rights, development, and perception.
Shiyana Gunasekara ’14, Admission Fellow
Shiyana was born and raised in beautiful Southern California where she graduated from Sunny Hills High School. At Pitzer, she is a double major in Economics and Political Studies. On campus, Shiyana has competed with Pitzer’s Model United Nations team, worked as an Economics tutor, as well as been a member of the 5C Asian-American/Pacific Islander Advisory Board. Shiyana has just returned from a semester abroad in India studying sustainable development and social change. Shiyana has spent her summers interning with U.S Senator Dianne Feinstein and at the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress in DC. Her most memorable experience at Pitzer has been acting as a research assistant for Political Studies Professor Rachel VanSickle which culminated with a co-authorship on an academic paper going for publication. This semester, she is excited to work as a development intern for Tiyya, a local NGO dedicated to providing services for refugee and displaced families new to America. After graduation, Shiyana plans to spend time with her friends and family in Sri Lanka and pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science.
Esther Ha ’14, Admission Fellow
Esther was born in New York and raised in Greenwich, CT where she graduated from Greenwich High School. At Pitzer she is double majoring in Psychology and Asian American Studies. During her time at Pitzer, she has been actively involved with the Asian American Pacific Coalition, the Asian American Sponsor Program, the Center for Asian Pacific American Students, Student Senate’s Diversity Committee, and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. She was also a part of the Pomona-Pitzer women’s golf team for two years. Esther has spent her summers studying in South Korea, working for Pitzer’s summer conferences, and teaching an intensive cooking class for middle and high school students. One of Esther’s greatest passion is food- cooking, eating, exploring, and blogging all of the above. She plans to pursue a possible future in the culinary world after graduation.
Sophie Howard 14’, Admission Fellow
Sophie was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but was raised just outside of Washington D.C., in Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from The Field School. Now a senior at Pitzer, Sophie is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Africana Studies. In 2013, Sophie studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand at Payap University. While in Thailand she studied Buddhism, and the Thai language. On campus, Sophie has been a first-year new student mentor, been involved with POA (Pitzer’s outdoor adventure club), played 5C club volleyball, and spent as much time as possible at the local rock climbing gym. In addition, Sophie founded Pitzer’s MERGE, Multiethnic & Racial Group Exchange, club which provides a safe space for multiracial, ethnic, and cultural students. Sophie has been a tour guide and student worker for the last three years at the Office of Admission. Sophie has spent her last three summers at her home in Washington D.C., working at a non-profit outdoor education program as a rock climbing instructor. In her free time, Sophie enjoys practicing yoga, napping, spending time outdoors, traveling whenever possible, spending time with her family and friends, and enjoying the California sunshine.
Gabriel Leggott ’14 Admission Fellow
Gabriel was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, where he spent his free time swimming and leading his community service and environmental clubs in high school. It was his passion for these areas that drew him to Pitzer, where he majors in Political Studies and Environmental Analysis with a minor in Spanish. He plans to go into environmental policy and hopes to make institutional changes that will help to better preserve our environment. On of Gabriel’s proudest accomplishment at Pitzer was his 30 page Spanish research paper conducted while he was studying abroad in Ecuador. He has served as a new student mentor his sophomore, junior and now senior year, to help acclimate first year students to college. Gabe has been a four year member of the Pomon-Pitzer Swim team and is currently one of the team’s captains. This past summer Gabriel was the head coach of a summer swim league and completed his 10th year as a swim coach. He hopes to combine his passion for coaching swimming and the environment after graduation by becoming an assistant swim coach and getting his masters in Environmental Policy, Management, and Science. Gabriel loves spending his free time with his friends, at the beach, watching movies, and relaxing at coffee shops.
Jessica Silva ’14 Admission Fellow
Jessica was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. As first generation college student, intercultural understanding has always been an important part of her everyday life and education. She attended a small high school in the city center called the Denver Center for International Studies and naturally found a fit at Pitzer. Jessica is majoring in English and World Literature and just returned from a study abroad semester in Paris, France. She spent a great deal of her time frequenting cafés and reading French literature while discovering new interests such as art history and architecture. Jessica has worked in the Office of Admission since her freshman year and loves talking to students coming through the door. When not working as an Admission Fellow or a Diversity Program Intern she loves spending time practicing her French and Spanish, reading, and visiting art galleries and museums.
Evan Slovak ’14 Admission Fellow
Evan was born and raised in Palm Springs, California and graduated from The Palm Valley High School. A double major in Political Studies and Philosophy, Evan is entering his senior year. He is heavily involved in Student Senate acting as one of the student representatives on the Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee. He is also the President of two of Pitzer’s clubs: Grillmasters and The Legal Society. Evan’s current area of academic interest is in campaign finance law, as well as the implications new neuroscience discoveries have for the U.S. legal system. The son of two lawyers, he unsurprisingly sees law school in his post-Pitzer path. Evan did not study abroad because he decided to work abroad in Brussels, Belgium on a European Union Center fellowship at the U.S. Mission to NATO, Department of Defense, NATO Headquarters. In his free time, Evan is an avid “Crossfitter”, grills any and every food that he comes across, and works on perfecting the art of a good cup of coffee.
Cesar Vargas ’14 Admission Fellow
Three years ago, Cesar Vargas decided to leave San Diego’s beautiful weather for Pitzer College. In additional to majoring in Political Science, and minoring in Spanish, Cesar is also pursuing the Pre-Med track. At Pitzer, he has become very involved in Pitzer’s student senate, MUN team as well as an intern at Uncommon good, a local non-profit with the goal of helping low-income students achieve their dream of going to college. During the summer of his sophomore year, Cesar was also part of Pitzer’s Costa Rica Summer Health program in which he was able to intern at a community clinic and analyze Costa Rica’s health care system in depth. After Pitzer, Cesar plans to attend medical school and work as a doctor in a low-income community in San Diego. Aside of academics, Cesar is a big soccer aficionado and on the weekends you can often find him multitasking between homework and watching soccer games. He is also very fond of good coffee, spending time with friends and keeping up with the current political atmosphere in Latin America.
Gabriel Villarreal ’14 Admission Fellow
Gabriel Villarreal was born in Santa Barbara and raised in the South Bay of San Diego. He is currently a senior at Pitzer College and is pursuing his bachelor’s in Political Studies with a minor in Sociology. He is passionate about education and social issues revolving around access to education and resources for underserved communities. On campus, Gabriel has been involved with a variety of organizations including the Jumpstart program, the ResLife Mentor Program, the Chicano/Latino Student Association Sponsor Program, and the Asian Pacific American Coalition Sponsor Program. He has spent his past few summers working various jobs for non-profit organizations including the City heights Community Development Corporation and Exploration School at Yale where he taught sociology. In his free time Gabriel enjoys running, reading, playing guitar, and spending time with the people that he cares about. Post-graduation Gabriel hopes to pursue a research Fulbright studying intercaste marriage in Nepal.