A Gift of Time and Freedom

Scholarship donors make a statement with their giving to Caltech: when preparing tomorrow’s science and technology leaders, it’s crucial to nurture a sense of adventuresome experimentation.

For Jetson Leder-Luis (BS ’14), that support made all the difference.

Music was a first love for this son of a professional musician. However, a simmering interest in mathematics brought him from his native Yonkers to Caltech to study economics and applied and computational mathematics. But that’s not all he did.

Thanks to the Penelope W. and E. Roe Stamps IV Leadership Scholar Awards Program, Leder-Luis’ tuition and academic and living expenses were covered for the duration of his four years at Caltech. That gave him the freedom to spend off hours and summers chasing his passions, developing as a scholar, and conducting research alongside both Jean E. Ensminger, Caltech’s Edie and Lew Wasserman Professor of Social Science, and investigators at Harvard.

He maintained his involvement in music, serving as president of the Fluid Dynamics a cappella group and musical director of the campus production of Rent as well as assistant-conducting Caltech’s Glee Club and Chamber Singers.

“Travel gives me the broad perspective that I think is very important as a social scientist.”
- Jetson Leder-Luis (BS ’14)

The Stamps Scholarship also provided additional resources for travel. Leder-Luis’ “insatiable wanderlust” led him to the Balkan Peninsula, Morocco, Spain, France, and Southeast Asia—and gave him an invaluable firsthand view of life in developing nations such as Albania and Malaysia.

Now pursuing a graduate economics degree at MIT, Leder-Luis says: “Travel gives me the broad perspective that I think is very important as a social scientist. These sorts of on-the-ground experiences are incredibly fundamental.”

Leder-Luis says the Stamps Scholarship gave him the gift of time—“the greatest commodity at Caltech.” How he chose to use that gift says a lot about him—and about the possibilities inherent in a community like Caltech.

Read more about Jetson and his cohort of Stamps Leadership Scholars.

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