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In our inaugural year, a team of interdisciplinary faculty members from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences selected the 2015-16 cohort of Mellon Public Scholars. The ten members of the first cohort represent eight departments and programs, and their projects address issues and problems in history, education, incarceration, gentrification, and citizenship.

Simon Abramowitsch (English)
Cinthya Ammerman (Native American Studies)
Trisha Barua (Cultural Studies)
Bridget Clark (Sociology)
Chelsea Escalante (Spanish and Portuguese)
Jonathan Favero (Music)
Lily Hodges (History)
Stephanie Maroney (Cultural Studies)
Loren Michael Mortimer (History)
Jennifer Sedell (Geography)

In addition to the ten Public Scholars selected from UC Davis, the program was joined by eight students from every other UC campus, except UCSF, who were selected by their humanities centers and institutes. Their participation was made possible by a 2015-2016 Humanities Center Collaboration grant sponsored by the UC Humanities Research Institute. The award allowed the Mellon Public Scholars program to have an impact across California since the students, after participating in the spring 2016 Public Scholars seminar, worked with community organizations in their own areas. For a full list of the inaugural cohort of Public Scholars and their projects, click here.

The cohort was present at the official launch of the Mellon Public Scholars program on March 7, titled “The Humanities Engaged.” The launch event began with a roundtable discussion with California-based professionals and UC Davis scholars in the public humanities addressing questions of, “Who is the public?” “What does public engagement look like in the humanities?” and “Who benefits from public humanities?”
The panel roundtable was moderated by UCD English Professor John Marx and featured:

Julie Fry (CEO & President, California Humanities)
Chet Hewitt (CEO, Sierra Health Foundation)
Natalia Deeb-Sossa (Professor, Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis)
Jonathan London (Director, Center for Regional Change, UC Davis)
Brett Snyder (Professor, Design, UC Davis)

Sara Guyer, Director of the Center for the Humanities at University of Wisconsin – Madison, delivered our keynote address. Read more about the launch event on our Publics page.