At the Institute’s annual scholarship reception on May 19, Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics, introduced a panel of four students who reflected on the difference this support has made in their lives.
2019 Scholarship Brunch (Slideshow)
“I am conducting research in theoretical computer science: What can algorithms do, and what will they never be able to do within a reasonable period of time? As part of that research, I meet with the professor for about an hour a week. I think it’s fantastic to get that amount of individual attention from a faculty member.”
“I was a systems engineering intern at a company started by a Caltech alumnus. Everyone there knew that I came from Caltech, and they were willing to throw pretty cool responsibilities at me. For example, I did some of the final acceptance testing on an electronics board that I found out may be going into space one day. I was like, ‘Wow.’”
With Experience Comes Confidence
“I’ll never forget that during my SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship), the professor said to me, ‘If you cured cancer, I wouldn’t be surprised.’ Knowing that someone has so much confidence in my potential is very empowering.”
“When first I went into the lab as a freshman bio major, the grad student I was to work with had zero expectations of me. But she had unbelievable expectations of my potential. It blew my mind. From the beginning, she expected—she knew—that eventually I would take on the project by myself.”
“When people hear you’re a Caltech student, they often have more faith in you than you have in yourself. It makes you realize how far you can stretch yourself.”
“I would like to get a PhD in computer science and I would really like to pursue a career in academia, but barring that I also would like to take a research position at company.”
“I have wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was eight years old, which is pretty funny considering that neither of my parents went to college or has anything to do with medicine. Caltech is insanely rigorous, and I know if I can get through this, I can do anything.”
“I am going to grad school at Princeton to study molecular biology, and I am very excited about that. I know it’s going to be really cold, but it’s going to be really cool, too.”
“I will definitely be leaving Caltech with a greater sense of tenacity, grit, and perseverance. For now, I am keeping my options open. I plan to apply to grad school and for different jobs. Then I will see what I like best and what will suit me.”
To hear from more scholarship recipients, watch the video Scholarships at Caltech: Four Stories of Impact.
Raising Funds for Scholarships
Raising funds so that Caltech can sustain its need-blind admissions policy is a top priority of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign. The Institute has set a long-term goal of raising $120 million in endowed funds to support the undergraduates of tomorrow and an immediate goal of securing $5 million in current-use funds to provide scholarships for students today.
To help Caltech foster intellectual equity and an academic community that is enriched by a diversity of perspectives and passions, in 2017 an anonymous alumnus set forth a scholarship fundraising challenge that matches all scholarship gifts or pledges of $75,000 with an additional $50,000. As of May 31, 2019, donors established 32 named scholarship funds through the challenge.