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2017 Mellon Public Scholars Update


The UC Davis Humanities Institute is preparing for another exciting year of its Mellon Public
Scholars program with the call for new public scholars coming out in the next couple of weeks.
A Mellon Public Scholar is a doctoral or MFA candidate currently enrolled in an arts, humanities
or social sciences program at UC Davis. A new cohort of ten scholars will be selected in January
2018 to participate in a spring seminar introducing them to the theory, methods and skills
associated with public scholarship. Scholars, working closely with faculty mentors and the
seminar instructor (next spring Susette Min, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies),
develop a community-engaged project that allows them to expand their scholarly training and
take that into the field in summer 2018 where they will see out that project with a community

To learn more about the program and talk to the 2017 scholars about their experiences, please
join us for an information session. These will be held in the DHI Conference Room (Voorhies
128) on Wednesday, November 15th , 5:10-6:00pm and Tuesday, November 21st , 12:10-1:00pm.

For a complete list of the 2017 Mellon Public Scholars, their projects and faculty mentors, please
visit http://publicscholars.ucdavis.edu/

Last summer’s projects focused on questions of representation and social justice. Brittani Orona
(Native American Studies) and Genesis Laura (History) worked with neighborhood
organizations in Oak Park, Sacramento, and Miami, Florida, respectively to record the
experience of gentrification. Mayra Sanchez (Human Ecology) and Roy Taggueg (Sociology)
created platforms with local communities to tell stories of environmental injustice, illness, and
access to healthcare. Crystal Richardson (Linguistics) developed a culturally responsive
curriculum with other Karuk indigenous language master speakers, and David Tenorio (Spanish
and Portuguese) worked with a Cuban trans health organization to record and digitize some of
their experiences in post-Soviet Cuba.

Many scholars reported an improved sense of focus and purpose in their dissertation work and
several will extend their collaboration with their community partner beyond their summer
project. Jennifer Sedel, a 2016 scholar from the Geology Grad Group, found in the program, “an
intellectual and professional opportunity to weave together my commitments to vital
communities, sound historical research, and work that not only crosses publics but
is generated across publics.” Early last month, a panel of scholars from past cohorts gathered in
the Cultural Studies Colloquium series to share what they had learned in the program and carry
forward a conversation around the risks and rewards of community-engaged scholarship.

For 2017 cohort, the program partnered with four local organizations on pre-established
community projects that our scholars could adapt to their own interests while building new skills
outside their doctoral training. English Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Tinonga-Valle drew on her
doctoral training in marginalized literatures to define and map humanities organizations across
the state with California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the
Humanities. As a performer, arts administrator, and scholar of performance studies, Deepa
Mahadevan worked with the California Arts Council to review two of their public arts grants.

Alana Haynes-Stein (Sociology), is developing a paper with her faculty mentor on her work
addressing the gaps in Yolo County’s emergency food system with Yolo Food Bank. Jeanelle
Hope mobilized her teaching, organizing, and theoretical expertise to ground the California
Department of Education’s work developing the first-in- the-nation ethnic studies curriculum for
high school.

Scholars also joined our program from UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and UC Santa
Cruz. Their respective humanities centers supported their work consulting on an exhibit with the
Laguna Art Museum, cultivating engagement in ancient history with #NewPalmyra, and
developing an interactive map of an artist colony founded by Bauhaus-trained WWII refugees.
In 2018, we’re pleased to be working again with the California Arts Council, California
Humanities, and the California Department of Education. We are also excited to partner with the
Center for Sacramento History and California Food Policy Advocates. In addition to the five
2018 Mellon Public Scholars working with these organizations, five scholars will design their
own projects.

This year, the call for proposals will be released the second week of November, in advance of the
information sessions. Applications are due in early January 2018.


– Rachel Reeves is the Mellon Public Scholars Program Manager and a recent Ph.D. from the
UC Davis History Department

This page was last updated: July 26, 2018



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