San Pietro Travel Prize
March 1, 3pm Regrettably, due to the unpredictable situation that involves travel restrictions such as quarantines and border closings as well as safety issues related to travel during the pandemic, the SanPietro Summer Travel Prize competition will not take place this year. We hope to be able to award up to double the prizes for summer 2022.
Submit materials to FASA, Room 319, Center for Student Services
Downloads (in PDF format except as noted):
- Information and Application Directions
- Guide to Using Writable PDFs
- Reference Form
- Budget Form
- Cost Breakdown Form (Microsoft Excel XLSX format)
- Peer Reference Form
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.
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.
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."