San Pietro Summer Travel Prize
Application Deadline: March 10, 3pm All materials need to be submitted to FASA by the deadline. Refer to directions for details.
Application Items: (Downloads in PDF format except as noted):
- Information and Application Directions
- SanPietro Application Checklist
- Proposal Cover Page
- Reference Form
- Budget Form
- Cost Breakdown Form (Microsoft Excel XLSX format)
- Peer Reference Form (optional)
Additional Guides & Resources
- 2023 SanPietro Presentation
- Winning Proposal Example (Additional examples located in FASA office library)
- SanPietro Budget Workshop PPT (PDF)
- Guide to Using Writable PDFs
- FASA Recommended Travel Resources
About the Prize
Craig SanPietro, Caltech class of 1969, has generously endowed a summer travel prize open to rising juniors, seniors and continuing and graduating seniors. Travel provided Mr. SanPietro with a new perspective and allowed him to broaden his horizons. In his words, "Since leaving Caltech in 1969, I have traveled through 50 countries, mostly in the third world. This travel has greatly enriched my life and I want to make similar experiences available to Caltech students. Hopefully, this travel can immerse you in unusual cultural and physical situations that challenge you and make you feel more alive." It is in this spirit that he wishes to share this opportunity with Caltech students.
The SanPietro Travel Prize allows individuals to travel during the summer, in the U.S. or abroad, for two weeks to three months. Travel cannot begin before the end of spring term, and must be completed before the start of fall term. Students must spend at least 14 days on the ground, not including travel (that means that the day you arrive and the day you leave do not count). This travel is meant for fun, adventure, and to expand one's sense of the world during the summer after their sophomore, junior or senior year. It can be a great follow-up to a summer research experience, before studying abroad in the fall, or as a summer experience on its own. The experience should be one that expands the applicant's horizons and challenges him or her. Note there is no limit on the number of countries visited nor are there any language skills required. There is no academic component to the proposal.
Travel can be done alone or with another Caltech student. Mr. SanPietro has agreed to allow proposals for pair travel - that is, two students can propose to travel together. Both members of the pair must currently be Caltech students who meet the requirements for the prize. The applicants should clearly articulate how the experience will challenge them and expand their horizons in their joint proposal. Though applying as a pair, individual applications and letters of recommendation are required. The joint proposal should be written by both applicants.
Note that exotic travel does not have to mean hiking in the jungle or riding a camel across the Sahara. You can also take a road trip along the Mississippi River, a canoe trip in Vermont, travel to Ireland to discover your long-lost Irish roots, or visit China to experience what the other side of the world is like.
Please note that due to the pandemic additional rules will apply for summer 2022:
- Travelers can only propose travel to one primary country and can include a second country only if that country shares a land or river border with the primary country.
- The proposed travel country or countries must have a full minimum vaccination rate of at least 70% by the application deadline. Rates, including booster shot rates, can be easily found here:
Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World. For U.S. travel, which is allowed under the pandemic, the state being traveled to must have a vaccination rate of at least 70%.
- Winners must be prepared to make last minute changing travel restrictions, natural disasters, or rising pandemic concerns. The fellowship may be cancelled by FASA due to pandemic issues. In such situations, the student will be allowed to defer until the summer of 2023 if a sophomore or junior at the time of application. Seniors cannot defer. After the one year deferment, if the student traveler(s) cannot use the prize in the summer of 2023, the prize is forfeit. Sophomores or Juniors will only be allowed to use the deferment if the student is still in good academic standing, not on leave, etc.) If applying as a pair, if one member of the duo drops out or is ineligible, the prize is forfeit for both. Choose your travel partner carefully and make sure you are equally interested in the travel location, have equivalent stamina for any rigorous activity, e.g., don't propose mountain climbing, rigorous cycling, etc. with someone with little or no experience. A pair must do all activities together.
- Applicants must be vaccinated and have a booster at least one month before trip.
- As usual, no car or motorcycle, or other vehicle rental is allowed. This is student level travel. Public transportation such as trains and buses are the primary mode of transport. In a large country, e.g., Australia, short plane trips are allowed in the budget. Cycling and walking trips are encouraged. Student accommodation cannot include couch surfing, staying with friends or relatives, etc. It can include, hotels, motels, Airbnb type accommodation, hostels, camping in official campgrounds, or other official facilities such as trail huts.
- As usual, students cannot propose travel to war zones or areas of local conflict or which are dangerous in any other way.
There is NO GPA REQUIREMENT and NO CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT, but students must be in good disciplinary standing and enrolled during the term in which they apply. All students must be enrolled at Caltech as a current sophomore, junior or senior. Freshmen are not eligible for the SanPietro. Exchange or visiting students are not eligible. All applicants must be 18 or older by application deadline. All students applying must be fully vaccinated with a WHO approved vaccine. (No religious or medical exceptions.) Winners will be required to receive a booster at least one month before departure if they have previously not received one yet. No exceptions to any requirements.
For more information on the prize, application process and proposal directions, please download the Information and Application Directions PDF at the top of this page.
Below is an overview of Mr. SanPietro's own travel and his comments on why he has endowed this exciting prize:
1971: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama; 1972: Peru, Bolivia; 1974: Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica; 1975: Canada; 1976: Japan; 1977: Egypt; 1978: Kenya, Tanzania; 1981: Holland, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal; 1983: England; 1984: Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti; 1986: Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay; 1991: Portugal, Spain; 1994: Jamaica, 1995: Italy; 2000: Israel, Jordan; 2005: Ireland; 2007: Argentina, Turkey; 2008: Thailand, Cambodia; 2009: Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary; 2010: Colombia; 2011: Dominican Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; 2012: Cuba
"Award decisions should be based more upon the potential for broadening the students' cultural experiences than relevance to academic coursework, and some preference should be given to cultures more different from America's. Since leaving Caltech in 1969, I have traveled through 50 countries, mostly in the third world. This travel has greatly enriched my life and I want to make similar experiences available to Caltech students. Hopefully, this travel can immerse you in unusual cultural and physical situations that challenge you and make you feel more alive.
I've driven to Panama, been held up in Mexico City, had a bus driver handcuffed and arrested in the Yucatan, driven through rivers in Honduras, been married in Peru, fixed dead-in-the-water steamship engines on the Amazon, been arrested myself at gunpoint in Brazil, gambled in Paraguay, blown out 2 tires in a dry river bed in Kenya and been charged by an elephant later the same day, body surfed in Indonesia, bent fenders in Dominica and Italy, guided lost taxi drivers in Japan and Uzbekistan, walked across fields of compressed human feces in Nepal, locked myself out of my car in Sri Lanka, been stranded in the Delhi airport, capsized a raft in New Zealand white water, temporarily lost my daughter in Spain, slept in a Turkish hotel carved out of rock, broke Ramadan fasting with Kurdish dissidents who had guided me past army tanks, almost flooded a Guatemalan village while working with Caltech students, picked the liquor cabinet lock on a Danube river boat, and attended Jewish Sabbath services in Uzbekistan."
Summer 2022 Winners Julia & Isabella
With our San Pietro travel prize, we spent a month traveling around Spain in the summer of 2022, visiting Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Granada, Malaga, Madrid, San Sebastian, Pamplona, and Bilbao. Looking back, our San Pietro trip was one of our most treasured parts of our time at Caltech. This is an incredible opportunity and we strongly encourage anyone considering it to put together an application!
Read more about their experience here.