2017 Scholars

Introducing the 2017 cohort of Mellon Public Scholars! The ten members of this year’s cohort represent nine departments and programs, and their interests address issues and problems in education, environmental justice, gentrification, access to the arts, and citizenship. They will be refining their projects and forging relationships with community organizations during the spring Public Scholars Seminar. Check in at our blog to see how these projects take shape.

Below is a list of our current scholars and their faculty mentors:


Alana Haynes-Stein (Sociology), Yolo Food Bank: Barriers to Access

  Catherine Brinkley (Community and Regional Development), Public health in relation to food access and environmental planning

Jeanelle Hope (Cultural Studies), CA Department of Education: Ethnic Studies Curriculum

  Robyn Rodriguez (Asian American Studies), Project director of the Welga Digital Archive, collaborating on a K-12 curriculum highlighting Filipino Americans’ contributions to the farmworker movement

Deepa Mahadevan (Performance Studies), Cal Arts Council: Program Evaluation

  Lynette Hunter (Rhetoric and Performance), Theoretical implications of situated and performance textualities; working with immigrant communities on Traditional Asian performance

Jennifer Tinonga-Valle (English), California Humanities: Mapping the Field

  Gregory Downs (History), Digital site “Mapping Occupation”; integrating Reconstruction history into the National Park Service

Brittani Orona (Native American Studies), Oak Park Neighborhood Association: Digital Storytelling and Mapping Tool

  Beth Rose Middleton (Native American Studies), Indigenous land rights and hydroelectric development; protection of culturally important places

Mayra Sanchez (Human Ecology), Digital Storytelling: Stories of Disability and Environmental Justice in Salinas Valley

  Julie Sze (American Studies), Environmental inequalities, social movements and policy implementation public and environmental humanities.

 Genesis Lara (History), A Dream Not Deferred

  Lorena Oropeza (History), 1960s U.S. social protest, settler colonialism, oral history

David Tenorio (Spanish and Portuguese), TransCuba: Transgender Studies in Post-Soviet Cuba

  Marcia Ochoa (Feminist Studies, Critcal Race and Ethnic Studies), Programing and social justice work with El/La Para TransLatinas in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA that reflects the style and grace of translatina survival

Roy Taggueg (Sociology), Living on the Edge: Healthcare Empowerment Among Undocumented Asian Americans

  Natalia Deeb-Sossa (Chicana/Chicano Studies), Resistance and power negotiation among Mexican immigrant farm worker mothers to educational and health inequity in their local context

Crystal Richardson (Linguistics), Culturally Responsive Karuk Language Curriculum Development

  Justin Spence (Native American Studies), Native American languages (especially Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages), language documentation, and historical linguistics

We are also proud to be joined by five UC Public Scholars, selected by their own campus humanities centers/institutes. Their participation is made possible through the efforts of their respective campuses.


Grace Kuipers(UC-Berkeley – Art History), Bauhaus Legacy: A Public History of Pond Farm Pottery

  Lauren Kroiz (History of Art), Relationships among regionalism, nationalism and globalism in photography and new media

Carly Maris (UC-Riverside – Ancient History), Helping to Preserve Syrian Heritage: Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Ancient Palmyra

  Michele Salzman (History), The city of Rome and its response to crises in late Antiquity

Leopoldo Peña (UC-Irvine – Spanish and Portuguese), Laguna Art Museum

  Viviane Mahiuex (Spanish and Portuguese), Modern and contemporary Latin American literature

Andrew Hedding (UC-Santa Cruz – Linguistics), Documenting the narratives and songs of the Mixe people

  Pranav Anand (Linguistics), Computational modeling of high-level discourse plans, especially those involved in argumentation and persuasion

Jason Ostrove (UC-Santa Cruz – Linguistics), Documenting and Recording the Mixtec Language of San Martín Peras

  Maziar Toosarvandani (Linguistics), Syntax and semantics-pragmatics in Northern Paiute and Persian (Farsi)