Daring Minds Profiles
When he started thinking about college, Johnny Huynh ’14 had two goals—to leave his hometown of Claremont and to attend a large research university. That all changed after a weekend visit to Pomona, where he says he “fell in love with the College.” A first-generation college student and son of Vietnamese immigrants, Johnny balances a demanding academic schedule as an economics and mathematics double major with weekly outings to Pomona’s Organic Farm, where he can practice the gardening skills he learned from his mom.
The first member of her family to go to college, international student Blessing Havana has been a sponsor and an R.A., a liaison in the philosophy, politics and economics program and a member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She spent a semester abroad at the University of Edinburgh and was an intern at the relief agency World Vision International, as part of the Pomona College Internship Program.
A recipient of the Udall Scholarship and a Rhodes and Marshall finalist, Lena Connor '13 is a double major in environmental analysis and politics, with a minor in religious studies. Connor was among the first group of students awarded fellowships for full-time summer internships, funded by gifts to the Daring Minds campaign.
Sydney Dyson ’14 considered a math major until a drawing class during freshman year led her in a different direction. Now a studio art major and religious studies minor, Dyson helps run the College’s student art gallery in the Smith Campus Center and works in the theatre costume shop. Last summer she was awarded a Summer Experience in the Arts grant as part of the Mellon Foundation Elemental Arts Initiative.
Gabriel Friedman ’12 received a $10,000 grant earlier this year from the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation to establish a music mentoring program, which pairs underprivileged children with students from The Claremont Colleges. A neuroscience major, Friedman also is a mentor for the anti-poverty program Uncommon Good and works on campus as head music librarian and mentor for organic chemistry.
Bryan Coreas ’11 has been involved with the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) since he was admitted to the summer program as a high school student in 2004. He worked as a student coordinator while he was attending Pomona, and this year was hired as the post-baccalaureate fellow in charge of educational outreach. When his 16-month appointment ends, he plans to attend graduate school and become a math teacher.
As a high school exchange student in Japan, Sam Holden developed a strong interest in international relations and Asian studies. At Pomona, he has twice conducted summer research in Japan, studied abroad in Germany and lived in Oldenborg’s language halls.
For Walter Rivera ’13, education, politics and finance are the driving forces in his college career. As a high school student, he attended PAYS (Pomona Academy for Youth Success), a summer college prep program aimed at low income high school students. He has stayed connected to the program as a volunteer and teaching assistant, as well as starting other groups to counsel students at Pomona and Fontana high schools. A member of Sagehen Capital Management, a student investment club, Walter also works as an intern at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Dialika Sall ’12 loads dozens of shoe boxes into the trunk of a friend’s car for the short trip from campus to Foothill Boulevard. As an intern at Shoes That Fit, collecting donations from students at The Claremont Colleges is just one of her responsibilities. She has become a key part of the nonprofit organization, which relies almost solely on volunteers.
Adam Buchholz '12, a director of On the Loose (OTL), has led nine OTL trips and participated in seven others since joining the student outdoors club as a freshman. A biology major from Olympia, Wash., Buchholz says that when he was weighing his decision about where to go to college, OTL tipped the scale in favor of Pomona.
Meredith Course is a musician and a scientist who reaches for everything Pomona College has to offer, from music lessons and Oldenborg's French-language dorm to intense research and the Southern California sun, which warms her Northwestern heart even while she's studying.
The first thing Danny Low '11 sees in the morning is a paper pinned to the wall of his room. It's not simply a list of goals, but a reminder of how he wants to live his life. An anthropology major and chemistry minor, Danny hopes to attend medical school and work in sub-Saharan Africa. It's a path that was inspired by his mother's bout with and subsequent recovery from cancer.
Senior Rose Green is the president of the Pomona Student Union (PSU) and a member of the Distinguished Speakers committee. A native of Denver, Rose says she did an “absurd” amount of research about the college she wanted to attend. It had to be academically rigorous without being overly competitive, have amazing professors and, as she describes it, be “a small school with big-school resources.” Thanks to generous financial aid, which made it possible for her to attend, she says she’s found all those things at Pomona.