What we urgently need...is a more inclusive view of what it means to be a scholar--a recognition that knowledge is acquired through research, through synthesis, through practice, and through teaching.

-- Ernest Boyer

Scholars and Mentors

View the 2016 Scholars

View the 2017 Scholars

View the 2018 Scholars

2019 Scholars

Introducing the 2019 cohort of Mellon Public Scholars! The scholars represent nine departments and programs, and their interests address arts access, education, and performance, as well as organizing in the Sacramento area among gender non-confirming musicians, Black communities, Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and incarcerated people.

Hannah Adamy (Music), Building Alliances Among Women and Gender–Expansive Musicians in Sacramento

This is a research-based community organizing project to help musicians in the Sacramento music scene understand and connect across differences of music performance genre, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, and education. Using the jam session as a methodology, this project focuses on facilitating more casual, collaborative, and open-ended musical interactions for women and gender-expansive musicians.

Natalia Deeb-Sossa (Chicana/Chicano Studies)
Interests: Resistance and power negotiation among Mexican immigrant farm worker mothers to educational and health inequity in their local context.
Tory Brykalski (Anthropology), Authors of Our Lives: Studying Gender and Liberation with the Gharsah Center in Al-Marj, Lebanon
Suad Joseph (Gender, Sexuality, Women’s Studies, and Anthropology)
Suad Joseph is a scholar of Middle East gender and family studies. Her research has focused on the relationships between religion and politics, family and the state, gender and citizenship, children and rights, and culturally specific notions of selfhood.
Tracy Corado (Design), Imagining America

Working with Imagining America’s staff and Commission on Publicly Engaged Design, this project will develop a national interactive map of community engaged design projects. I will curate and present the project along with members of CoPED at the 2019 IA National Gathering in Albuquerque, NM.

Brett Snyder (Design)
Snyder works at and researches the intersection of architecture, media, and graphics with a particular interest in urban spaces. Current research includes Capitol Corridor: Waterscapes, a multidisciplinary collaboration promoting stewardship of the environment and Smart Sidewalks, an initiative to transform public spaces into productive ecologies.
Mia Dawson (Geography), Pursuing Truth and Transformative Justice with Abolition Activists in Sacramento 

In this project, I will work with Sacramento for Black Lives to further practices of community accountability through truth and transformative justice.  We will develop a process to navigate a tumultuous period of change with vision and integrity and to put our ideals against state violence into practice at interpersonal and organizational scales.

Clarissa Rojas (Chicana/Chicano Studies)
Interests: Violence, Medical Violence, Medicalization and Social Health Movements; Border Violence, Cultures and Migration Studies; Decolonial Chicana, Indigenous and Women of Color feminisms: Queer of Color and Two Spirit Studies; Critical, Comparative and Transdsciplinary Race Studies; Chican@/Latin@, Latin American, Decolonial and Zapatista Movements and Theories
Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana (Spanish & Portuguese), Who Are the Real Childhood Arrivals to the U.S.?

The Playas de Tijuana Mural Project poses the question: Who Are the Real Childhood Arrivals to the United States? At the same time, it aims to expose the myriad of stories behind the United State’s Childhood Arrivals dilemma. De La Cruz will be directing the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project, an interactive community mural in Friendship Park in the U.S.-Mexico Border with a digital component that brings to life digital narratives. The idea and artwork for the mural are influenced by the stories of both the DACAmented and Humanizing Deportation archives. During the installation of the mural, audiences will be exposed to the unique accessible and creative processes of the artistic work of muralist Mauro Carrera. The main goal of the PTM project is to bring new public art of high artistic quality and enduring value to the world’s largest land border entry and one of the busiest land border crossings in the world. At the same time, it intends to transform the public perception of deportability through institutional and societal engagement.
Maceo Montoya (Chicana/Chicano Studies)
Maceo Montoya is a writer and visual artist who teaches courses on Chicana/o culture, the novel, creative writing, and community muralism. Montoya is an affiliated faculty member of Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA), a community-based arts organization located in Woodland, CA.
Rebecca Hogue (English), Pacific Islands Rise: A Digital Archive of Climate Change Activism

This project will consist of designing and organizing a digital archive for a history of Pacific Islander climate activism in California.  By establishing a central portal for the many extent videos, images, speeches, and other arts of the Pacific Islander activist movements in diaspora, the project will hopefully create greater awareness for environmental justice issues in Oceania.

Beth Rose Middleton (Native American Studies)
Interests: Indigenous land rights and hydroelectric development; protection of culturally important places.
Gwyneth Manser (Geography), California Food Policy Advocates: Faces of California Hunger Project

I will be working with to California Food Policy Advocates to capture the overlooked “faces of hunger” in California through storytelling related to elderly and undocumented populations. We will also leverage those stories to impact hunger-related policy at both the state and national level.

Jennifer Falbe (Nutrition and Human Development)
Interests: Culture/Neighborhood/Society, Healthy Retail, Intervention Research, Media, Nutrition, Obesity, Food Policy, Prevention Research, School, Sleep
Kristin McCarty (Sociology), California Arts Council: Arts & Culture Landscape Framework Project

I will work with the California Arts Council (CAC) to create an updated portrait of arts and culture organizations across the state. I will develop a framework for a new study of the California arts and culture landscape, including data on number of active nonprofit arts organizations, organizational sizes, program activity, and staff and board demographics. The framework will propose a timeline for the project, develop a methodology, and evaluate available resources and partners to guide the execution of the study.

Lynette Hunter (Rhetoric and Performance)
Interests: Theoretical implications of situated and performance textualities; working with immigrant communities on Traditional Asian performance.
Marlené Mercado (Cultural Studies), Expanding the Network and Reach of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Chapter in Sacramento

This project is a collaboration with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) Chapter in Sacramento where I plan to widen the reach of support networks in and outside of prisons. The end goal is to create a more diverse Sacramento IWOC chapter that has more critical tools for dismantling the local carceral system.

Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas (Chicana/Chicano Studies)
Interests: Intersections of Critical Race Studies, Visual and Cultural studies and Geography and Law. Her work focuses on race, prisons and policing interrogates the critical questions; what lives constitute an ethical crisis? And what is the contemporary value embedded in the practice of racial violence?
Katherine Nasol (Cultural Studies), Rise, Resist, Unite: The Stories of AAPI Women and Girls

“Rise, Resist, Unite” is a story-gathering project that aims to understand the lives of low wage Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls through the telling of their own voices. Due to the lack of disaggregated data on AAPI communities, particularly AAPI women and gender expansive people, the project addresses this gap by focusing on how AAPI women experience their everyday realities, build community, and develop their own political power.

Robyn Rodriguez (Asian American Studies)
Interests: Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, Welga Digital Archive, collaborating on a K-12 curriculum highlighting Filipino Americans’ contributions to the farmworker movement.
Ante Ursic (Performance Studies), Prescott Circus Theatre: Social Justice and Circus

I will work with Prescott Circus Theatre (PCT), a nonprofit organization that serves underprivileged youth in Oakland. I choose to work with PCT because of its unique and established community presence, its dedication to developing circus disciplines that emerge out of Black traditions, and its mission to empower black and of color Oakland youth to transform their communities and the Bay Area through an explicit engagement with the performing arts. I will serve PCT through my experience, both as a circus practitioner and performance studies scholar whose research is invested in the political potential of circus practice and performance.

Rana Jaleel (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies)
Trained in law, U.S. political and cultural history, and queer feminist and critical ethnic studies, her work uses an interdisciplinary methodology to analyze the relationships between law, legal processes, militarism, and social justice movements.
Jasmine Wade (Cultural Studies), California Department of Education: Native American Model Curriculum Project

The California Department of Education is developing a Native American Model Curriculum which will offer a flexible framework on which districts can build meaningful, interdisciplinary courses relevant to their students’ experiences. I will work independently and collaborate the CDE’s Curriculum and Instructional Resources Division to research current Native American and Indigenous studies best practices, including a literature review centered on the recommended coverage of U.S. and California Native American history and educational best practices. I will also engage with Native American education stakeholders throughout the state, including Native American communities across California, university departments and groups that have Native American curricula, and California teachers.

Jessica Perea (Native American Studies)
Interests: Native North American music cultures; Alaska Native, Circumpolar Inuit, and African-Native American cultures, histories, and politics; Indigenous aesthetics and methodologies; sound and media studies; critical race and gender studies; jazz and popular music studies.