Pitzer College Students and Alumni Win 2017 Regional, National and International Awards

Claremont, Calif. (April 5, 2017)—More than 20 Pitzer College students and graduates have won 2017 fellowships, scholarships and awards so far this spring semester, the Pitzer President’s Office announced today. With these awards, they will be working to promote human rights in Macedonia, analyzing the underpinnings of aggressive cancers, researching retention rates among first-generation Black and Latinx students in STEM programs, teaching English in countries from Bulgaria to South Korea, and much more. Here is a glance at Pitzer’s outstanding students and alumni, and the awards they have received to support research and independent projects, language learning and academic programs around the world.

Davis Projects for Peace
Brendan Schultz ’20, a politics, philosophy and sociology major, has been awarded $10,000 from Davis Projects for Peace for his project “Bridging Backgrounds: A Macedonian Inter-Ethnic Conference for Cultivating Mutual Understanding and Tolerance.” Schultz will organize a youth conference this July in Macedonia that will be the first to include participants from all the ethnicities present in the country with the goal of creating a community in order to reach a common, high level of understanding of human rights and hate speech. During his senior year in high school, he served as a United States Youth Ambassador to Macedonia on a youth cultural exchange scholarship.

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
Lillian Horin ’17, a biology major, is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship to pursue her PhD at Harvard University to study the relationship between metabolic dysregulation and (epi)genetic regulation.  Horin was also awarded a 2017 National Science Foundation Fellowship.

Alfredo “Freddy” Valencia ’14, a biochemistry major, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship to complete his PhD in chemical biology at Harvard University. His research focuses on the biochemical and epigenetic underpinnings of highly aggressive cancers.

Fulbright Fellowship
Natalie Honan ’17, a human biology major, has been awarded a Fulbright ETA award to Spain. She will use her Spanish language skills and passion for teaching to help design a culturally relevant and intersectional curriculum. Honan will engage with her community by teaching health education to high school students. While at Pitzer, she went abroad to Argentina and Chile. In the future, she plans to go to medical school.

Jordan Jenkins ’17, a political studies major and Spanish minor, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Spain. She will make use of her Spanish language skills to bring a collaborative and dialogical approach to language learning to create a productive and engaged classroom.  A cross country and track runner, Jenkins hopes to establish an after-school running program in order to promote discipline, self-reflection and personal growth. At Pitzer, she has been a Writing Center fellow and her future plans include engaging high schools in Writing Center practices.  Jenkins studied abroad in the Pitzer in Ecuador program.

Douglas Lewis ’17, a public policy analysis-sociology major, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Bulgaria. Lewis is a Pitzer Writing Center fellow who served on the College’s Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee and studied abroad with the Pitzer in Nepal program. Ultimately, Lewis plans to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in public policy with a focus on education.

Aminah Luqman ’17, an international political economy and Spanish double major, has received a Fulbright award to teach English in Colombia. She will draw upon her experience teaching ESL to Spanish-speaking day laborers, as well as past teaching experiences in Nicaragua. In Colombia, Luqman plans to learn more about the African diaspora in the Americas and ultimately use this knowledge as a teacher or policymaker committed to education reform. In Colombia, she also plans to engage with the community through her love of music, dance and soccer. Luqman participated in the Sarah Lawrence College exchange program in Cuba.

Andrew Lydens 17, a philosophy, politics and economics major, is the recipient of a Fulbright ETA award in South Korea. At Pitzer, Lydens served as the student body president as well as the Judicial Council chair. He believes his leadership background along with his cultural awareness and teaching skills will be key to a successful learning experience. Additionally, by tapping into his love for the outdoors, he hopes to create a forum for language and cultural exchange by organizing a hiking group in his community.

Rebecca Nathan ’17, psychology, studio art and gender and feminist studies triple major, has received a Fulbright ETA award to South Korea, where she plans to focus on interactive student-led learning, while maintaining the cultural relevance of the test-based Korean educational system. Nathan has family in North Korea, so she plans to mentor and tutor North Korean defectors as her host county engagement activity. Upon completion of her Fulbright, Nathan plans to enter the Peace Corps in Mongolia. While at Pitzer, she participated in an exchange with the University of Essex.

Kristen Park ’17, a psychology and Asian American studies double major, has been awarded a Fulbright to South Korea to teach English to high school students and North Korean defectors. She aspires to create a classroom that allows students to take ownership of their knowledge and English education.  Outside the classroom, Park will volunteer with a nonprofit that helps resettle North Korean defectors through educational empowerment. In addition, she would like to start a running club for high school students. Park plans to pursue a PhD in education with a focus on equity in higher education.

Uriel Rafael ’14, a human biology and psychology double major, is the recipient of a Fulbright to Mexico, where he will teach English using a student-centered, culturally relevant pedagogy, based on his bilingual fluency and personal experience as a language learner. Rafael will also volunteer as a mentor and work with a nonprofit organization called Dream in Mexico that helps deported individuals reunite with their families. His future plans include earning a PhD in educational psychology.

Rebecca Rubin ’17, a human biology major and Spanish minor, has been awarded a Fulbright to Mexico to teach English. Drawing on her extensive experience with youth as both a teacher and health educator in Latin America, Rubin plans to use project-based lessons to encourage students to learn through collaboration. She also wants to volunteer with an organization that works with Mayan communities to promote economic independence for women while preserving cultural heritage. After her Fulbright year, she hopes to attend medical school.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
Victoria Hernandez ’18, an art history major, has been awarded a Gilman Scholarship for study abroad in the International Student Exchange Program at Tilburg University in the Netherlands during spring 2017.

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship
Victor Bene ’18, an Africana studies and environmental analysis major, is the recipient of a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. Bene’s research will focus on crafting the first historiography of best practices of survival within House and Ball Culture from 1980 to 1990 in New York City. They plan to utilize an interdisciplinary approach to understand transgender black and brown subjects in their totality.

Kevin Kandamby ’19, a Chicano/a-Latino/a transnational studies major and mathematics minor, will use his Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship to research the retention rates of first-generation Black and Latinx students enrolled in STEM programs at both private and public undergraduate institutions.

Javier LopezCasertano ’18, an international/intercultural studies and Spanish major, will use his Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship to conduct a qualitative ethnographic investigation that analyzes how Mayan indigenous actors in the central highlands of Guatemala are implementing bilingual, intercultural education by focusing on the historical narratives of the Guatemalan civil war.

Naima OrozcoValdivia ’18, a history major and theater minor, will take advantage of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship award to undertake an oral history on Plaza de La Raza, a community arts organization and school located in Lincoln Heights, CA. Her research will work towards identifying Plaza’s role as a center for arts and education and placing it within the historical context of the Chicano movement in Los Angeles.

Jasmine (Jazzy) Randle ’18, an environmental analysis and sociology major, will analyze the relationship between social cohesion, social dialogue and social capital in a community garden in Los Angeles with her Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. She aims to discern if and how community gardening deconstructs social barriers.

Napier Awards for Creative Leadership 
Tiffany Ortamond ’17, an environmental analysis major, has been awarded a Napier Award for Creative Leadership, which promotes social justice, care of the earth and global peace. She plans to use the $15,000 award to work with the Tla’amin First Nations tribe in British Columbia to create and implement a water quality testing/education program, contribute to an ongoing database for analysis and create a film documenting the project. She intends to build a foundation to empower local tribal members and others to collect and log information that can be utilized in building legitimate cases addressing pollution, international development and environmental justice.

Eli Erlick ’17, a feminist, gender, sexuality studies major and sociology minor, was selected as an alternate for the Napier award. Her project was to support the second Trans Youth Leadership Summit, a unique and innovative Los Angeles-based fellowship program designed to develop the activism and organizing skills of young transgender leaders across the country.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships
Brian Cohn ’15, a computational biology major, has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that will support his research in computer science at USC, where he is currently pursuing a PhD. Cohn’s research focuses on how musculoskeletal control works across health and disease. Designing models, building prototypes and conducting dissections are all part of the scientific work he uses to help understand neuromuscular phenomena.

Kristin Dobbin ’13, an environmental analysis major, is the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that will support her graduate research on the role of special drinking water districts in California water management and water justice. Dobbin is the regional water management coordinator at Community Water Center, where she currently works with unincorporated disadvantaged communities in the Central Valley of California to promote the human right to water. She plans to undertake graduate studies at University of California, Davis.

Lillian Horin ’17, a biology major, has received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to assist in funding her research in graduate school at Harvard University, where she plans to study the relationship between metabolic dysregulation and (epi)genetic regulation. Horin is a first-generation college student from Los Angeles who has served as a resident assistant and Writing Center fellow during her time at Pitzer. This year, she also won a 2017 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship.

Samuel “Yoni” Rubin ’15, a physics and molecular biology double major with a minor in chemistry, received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Immunology Program at Stanford University, where his research focuses on cell signaling mechanisms associated with the regulation of self-tolerance, as well as design of novel molecular tools to study these pathways.

Public Policy & International Affairs Program (PPIA) Fellowship
Sydney Warren ’18, an international political economics major/Chinese minor, has been awarded a PPIA summer fellowship. In summer 2017, Warren will participate in an intensive seven-week academic program at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. This program prepares undergraduates to be competitive candidates for top degree programs in the fields of public policy, public administration or international affairs. The fellowship includes a $1,500 stipend for the summer program as well as a $5,000 scholarship at a PPIA graduate school.

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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Page last updated on May 12, 2017