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Pomona College Among Top Producers of Fulbrights Among Bachelor's Institutions

Pomona College is again among the liberal arts colleges with the highest number of Fulbrights awarded to its graduating class, with the Class of 2012 receiving 14 of the prestigious awards. The Fulbright totals for “Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Students by Type of Institution, 2011-12” were published in the October 29, 2012, edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

For the Class of 2012, Pitzer College led the group of Bachelor's Institutions with 19 Fulbrights; Pomona, Scripps and Smith tied for second with 14 awards. Following were Grinnell (13), College of the Holy Cross and Oberlin (11), and Williams and Swarthmore (10). Claremont McKenna had nine Fulbrights, along with six other institutions.

Pomona’s Class of 2012 Fulbright recipients are conducting research in Geneva, Kathmandu, Manila, Mexico City and Montreal. Others are teaching English in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Indonesia and Russia.

Behind these scholars are the faculty advisors. Theatre Professor Thomas Leabhart is the longest-serving Fulbright advisor and guesses that he’s been involved for about 25 years. “Advising Fulbright candidates is a real joy,” he says. “I love to see the dedication, hard work, inventiveness and curiosity of Pomona students. And I love it when we can be instrumental, even in some small way, in helping them find that next right step.” He didn’t want to hazard a guess about the number of hours he spends on advising each year other than to admit that “it is very time consuming…students in the office, on email, on the telephone all day and well into the evening, even on the weekends.”

Hans Rindisbacher, professor of German, joined the Fulbright advising team in 2006 and has coordinated the advising for several years. “Among all of the faculty assignments” he says, “with Fulbrights, you work with students and help them change their lives. If you want to make a difference in a student’s life, this is one of the most efficient and effective ways to help a student find his or her path in their career and in life…. I teach in a small department, and we work with a fraction of Pomona students. Working with Fulbrights allows me to see a much bigger part of our student population and to see what they can do by their senior year. Some of the projects are so rewarding that I remember them for the rest of my life and quote them to friends over dinner. Some of the projects are really great even if they don’t get a Fulbright, and I learn a lot.”

Other Fulbright advisors include or have included Gary Kates (history), Peter Flueckiger (Asian languages and literature), Stephan Garcia (mathematics), Sharon Goto (psychology and Asian American studies), Paul Cahill (Spanish), Sara Sood (computer science) and Nicole Weekes (neuroscience). Numerous faculty also serve on interview committees each fall. Paula Goldsmid, as director of graduate fellowships from 2001 to 2012, served on interview committees each year and advised Fulbright candidates over the summer. Goldsmid is now director of the health sciences office, and Jennifer Locke '03, in the CDO, is the new director of graduate fellowships.

Pomona College has long been a leader among colleges and universities in Fulbright recipients. During the last five years (Classes of 2008-2012), 71 graduates have received Fulbrights. In the last 10 years (2004-2012), 126 graduates have received Fulbright Fellowships.

Pomona College, founded in 1887, is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions and is known for the close relationships between faculty and staff and the wide range of student research and leadership opportunities available to students. Pomona is the founding member of the Claremont Colleges, a unique consortium that also includes Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Scripps College, the Claremont Graduate School and Keck Graduate Institute