Nineteen Pitzer College students have been granted Fulbright Fellowships for the 2010-2011 academic year. This is the highest number of Fulbrights awarded to Pitzer students in the college’s history, topping the previous record of 17. Over 100 Fulbrights have been awarded to Pitzer graduates since the college’s inception in 1963. This year’s number could rise even higher as more students hear back from the program in the coming weeks.
The Fulbright Program, which was created in 1948, provides grants allowing students, scholars and teachers to partake in international exchange with the goal of promoting peaceful diplomacy, according to the mission statement of the program.
Since 2002, Pitzer College has been awarded more Fulbright Fellowships per capita than any other college or university in the nation.
Solamon Estin PI ’10, a recent recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, said Pitzer’s educational objectives are similar to the aims of the program.
“I thought there was no better way to advance Pitzer’s commitments to intercultural understanding (a core educational objective of Pitzer)…than by doing some sort of cutting-edge international fellowship,” she said.
Estin, a political studies major and Latin American studies minor, has been awarded a teaching grant in Colombia, which is one of the two kinds of grants the Fulbright Fellowship awards. The other, less common type is a research grant. This year, five of Pitzer’s Fulbrights are research grants.
One reason Pitzer leads the country in Fulbright Fellowships, according to Estin, is the continual encouragement of Pitzer faculty and staff to apply for the grants.
One Pitzer professor, Carol Brandt, former director of the external studies department, “places a large expectation…on any rising seniors…and basically expects them to apply for a Fulbright in their entering of fall senior year,” Estin said.
Students are also encouraged to start thinking about possible countries as early as the summer before senior year.
The Fulbright application process is demanding. Throughout the course of a six-week period, Pitzer student applicants are expected to attend workshops to help them draft their final application. A one-page personal statement is required for both types of grant applications, and a supplementary teaching proposal or research proposal, based on which type of project applicants are pursuing, is also required.
“The difficulty with this is that you’re expected to express a whole lot in very, very little space, so…making sure the content is completely on point, making sure that the language flows smoothly, and that it’s crisp and that it’s extremely concise is something that takes a lot of time to whittle down,” Estin said.
Applicants from Pitzer are expected to draft their statements and proposals up to four times a week.
“Something you’ve written in the beginning of the week may end up looking completely different later in the week,” Estin said. “Keeping your stamina up and not getting distracted by what is happening in the beginning of the school year [is very helpful].”
Pitzer students who have won a Fulbright research grant include: Clinton Attaway ’10, traveling to Hungary; Danielle Brown ’08, Uruguay; Chris Coughlin ’10, South Korea; Stephanie Hyland ’10, Costa Rica/Nicaragua. Students who have won a teaching grant include: Josh Brown ’10, South Korea; Hannah Dithrich ’10, Malta; Solamon Estin ’10, Colombia; Elena Fanjul-Debnam ’10, Indonesia; Heather Halk ’10, Indonesia; Jennifer Johnson ’10, Slovakia; Misa Kabashima ’10, South Korea; Steven Liang ’10, Taiwan; Elizabeth Lipschultz ’10, Moldova; Maya Rosas ’10, Mexico; Sean Sullivan ’10, South Korea; Eleanor Wolf ’10, Peru. The names of the other three awarded students could not be confirmed by press time.