Pomona’s class of 2013 consists of 391 students, admitted from a pool of 6,149 applicants. About 92 percent of the 190 women and 201 men who enrolled this fall graduated in the top 10 percent of their class; 21 percent were valedictorians. The class includes 10 students from the Posse Foundation and 27 from Questbridge, programs designed to pair high-achieving students from low-income families or urban public schools with the nation’s top colleges. About 54 percent of the students received scholarships, with the average financial aid package totaling $35,976.
Year in Review
A total of 370 students earned bachelors of arts degrees from Pomona during the year, with most participating in the 116th commencement exercise on Marston Quadrangle on May 17, 2009. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert delivered the keynote address and received an honorary degree. A canopy of blue and white streamers, designed to shade graduates and their guests, made its debut at this year’s ceremony. Named “Pomona College: String Theory,” the lattice of nylon webbing and parachute materials was constructed by students, staff and faculty.
Among the awards received by the 2009 graduates were 22 Fulbright fellowships, marking the third year in a row that Pomona topped all liberal arts colleges in the total number of Fulbrights awarded to its graduating class. In addition, one Pomona alumnus received a fellowship, bringing the total to 23 recipients of Fulbright awards.
Also recognized for extraordinary achievement were Jorie Koster-Moeller ’09, Emily Stark ’09 and Alex Zylstra ’09, who were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Koster-Moeller, who was the only undergraduate to receive a fellowship in linguistics, is pursuing a Ph.D. in linguistics and cognitive science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stark, a mathematics major, is starting a Ph.D. program in pure mathematics at Tufts University and Zylstra, a physics major, is studying high energy density physics at MIT. In addition, four recent Pomona graduates have received NSF Graduate Research fellowships in other areas. Shiri Azenkot ’05, a computer science major, received a fellowship in human-computer interaction. Karen Ring ’07, a molecular biology major, is studying neuroscience at UC San Francisco. Laura Rosen ’08, a molecular biology major, is enrolled in a biophysics program at UC Berkeley. James Tener ’08, a mathematics major, is enrolled in the mathematical sciences-modern analysis program at UC Berkeley.
Anoush Suni ’09 and Irene Toro Martinez ’09 were awarded the Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship, which provides a $28,000 grant for one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. For her project "The Language of the Oud: Cross-Cultural Connections through Music," Suni will visit Morocco, Armenia and Turkey. Toro Martinez will travel to Chile, Mexico, Norway and Spain for her project, "All the Time in the World."
Three Pomona College students, Benjamin Kozak ’10, William R. Fletcher ’11 and Thomas J. Lane ’10, were awarded prestigious science scholarships. Kozak, a biology major, was awarded a $17,600 Beckman Scholarship to fund in-depth undergraduate research experiences and comprehensive faculty mentoring for two summers and one academic year. Fletcher and Lane received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships of $7,500 per year towards the cost of the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
Ashwin Balakrishnan ’09, Jacob Cohen ’10 and Patricia Nguyen ’10 were awarded a $10,000 grant, from Davis Projects for Peace, to help the Vietnamese-American community in New Orleans, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina. When its residents returned from Houston to rebuild, they discovered that the new map of New Orleans excluded their neighborhood. This summer they mentored Versailles high school students in constructing a youth-led grassroots oral history anthology.
Ellen Le ’10 received a National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship for intensive language and cultural study at Hong Bang University in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, from February through August 2010. Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to support undergraduate study in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, as well as study of languages that are less commonly taught.
Naohito Miura ’11 was one of only 15 sophomores across the country awarded the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP) Fellowship. IIPP, a program of the United Negro College Fund, seeks to enhance U.S. security and competitiveness by preparing a cadre of well-trained, language proficient minority young people. Over the next six years, the Fellowship will support study abroad, intensive foreign language training, a Junior Summer Policy Institute, internships and up to $15,000 in matching funds for graduate study in a professional school of international affairs.
A student-led initiative headed by Tammy Zhu ’10 donated approximately 400 meals per week to feed local homeless people. Throughout the school year, a crew of approximately 15 volunteers picked up prepared but unserved food from Frank Dining Hall every night and delivered it to the Inland Valley Hope Partners family shelter. Support was provided Pomona’s Dining Services, Sodexo’s fight hunger campaign, Office of Community Programs, Hart Volunteer Center and the dining halls staff, who packed all the meals. In recognition of the its success, the program was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Strauss Foundation Public Service Projects for expenses and to help begin similar programs at other college campuses.
The Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team finished the 2009 season by winning its fifth Collegiate III Championship at Cal Lutheran, defeating the University of Redlands, 10-5 in the championship game. Sarah Woods ’10 was named tournament MVP and Nikki Ruesch PI ’09 was selected all-tournament team. Ruesch and Janelle Gyorffy ’09 were named to the all-SCIAC first team. Men’s water polo won their second consecutive SCIAC championship, and then went on to place 8th at the Western Water Polo Association Championships. Ben Hadley ’11 and Ryan Balikian ’11 were named to the all-SCIAC first team.
Breaking a school record with 19 SCIAC wins, The Pomona-Pitzer baseball team won the conference championship. Drew Hedman ’09, who won NCAA Division III hitter of the year and SCIAC player of the year, was named to the all-SCIAC first team, along with Zachary Mandelblatt ’09, Nick Frederick ’11, David Colvin PI ’11, James Kang PI ’10, and Brandon Huerta PI ’09.
Ranked in the top eight in the nation for the third consecutive year, the Sagehens women’s tennis team won the SCIAC regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Division III finals in Georgia. Siobhan Finicane ’10 was named SCIAC player of the year and NCAA singles All-American and finished second in the NCAA doubles finals with partner Olivia Muesse ’10. Becca Lange ’09 was named to the all-SCIAC first team.