Pitzer College has once again been ranked by The Chronicle of Higher Education as the number one Fulbright-receiving undergraduate institution based on the number of Fulbright scholarships awarded to students last spring. Last year, Pitzer nominated 79 candidates for the Fulbright scholarship, 22 of whom were awarded the prize, placing Pitzer nine awards ahead of the second-place winner, Smith College in Massachusetts.
This means that one in every three Pitzer students who applied for a Fulbright received the scholarship, a significantly higher rate than the national average for institutions of higher learning, which is about one in five or six.
Pomona College placed fourth, with 11 out of 63 applicants receiving the scholarship, and Claremont Mckenna College placed 11th, with eight scholarships from 31 applications.
Pitzer has led the rankings in per capita Fulbright awards for the last seven years.
“It indicates that we’re doing something right here,” said Pitzer Fulbright Program Director Nigel Boyle. “Pitzer students are academically strong, but in order to get a Fulbright, students also have to bring a set of skills that a good liberal arts education should give.”
According to Boyle, Pitzer students stand out in the Fulbright application process because “they have done immersive study abroad programs as well as participated in community engagement projects locally. Students with that combination of qualifications tend to do well in an international competition like this one.”
Pitzer President Laura Trombley said, “The success of this program at Pitzer is entirely credited to the hard work of our students and the amazing support they receive from faculty and staff.”
Funded by the State Department, the Fulbright program provides funding for research, teaching, and employment opportunities around the world for students who demonstrate excellence in institutions of higher education.
Mauricio Pantoja, a recent Pitzer graduate who received a Fulbright scholarship in the 2008-09 school year, said he used his scholarship to work for two companies and attend a university in Mexico City.
“It was a work-intensive experience,” Pantoja said. “It was also a great opportunity to learn about the Mexican economy, to experience first hand the effects of NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement]. It was also interesting to be able to be a cultural ambassador and communicate with the local population.
“The program is all about increasing understanding between cultures because that is the way to pursue peace,” he added.