2018-19 Mellon Fellows

Coming Soon. 

2016-17 Mellon Fellows


Jose Manuel Castellanos

Jose Manuel Castellanos is a PhD student in the Department of English at UIC. He received his Master’s degree at Illinois State University where he served as President of The Association of Latin American Students (ALAS). Jose has also served as a youth gang mentor under the Lincoln’s Challenge Project. His dissertation work involves ethnographic research conducted among Chicago’s working class Latino community, focusing on how the rhetoric of Latinidad is mobilized to navigate everyday experiences of loss that occur in Hispanic enclaves. 

Nichole M. Garcia

Nichole M. Garcia completed her PhD in Social Science and Comparative Education with a specialization in Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016. Her research analyzes racial inequities in higher education. She employs mixed methods to examine inaccurate portrayals of educational outcomes for communities of color and conducts comparative studies of Chicana/o and Puerto Rican college-educated families to advance narratives of intergenerational achievement. Nichole was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center of Race and Equity at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Amanda E. Gray

Amanda E. Gray is a researcher, writer, and documentarian. She received her BA in Legal Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation examines the experiences of Mexican and Mexican American women caregivers and home healthcare workers in San Antonio through an analysis of federal and state healthcare policy, labor laws, and community cultural practices. In addition to her academic projects, she has produced/directed/edited several short documentary films focused on art, education community activism, and environmental justice. 

Vanessa Guridy

Vanessa Guridy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked as a researcher in various studies, including the Consular Advocacy and Latino Immigrant Worker Rights Project, and was Director of Field Research for the 2011 Chicago Area Study. Her dissertation analyses Latino political participation, exploring the nuanced diversity within the Latino category and how these differences are impacted by local context. Specifically, her work aims to rupture the script of a monolithic Latino politics, highlighting the ways social and cultural capital interact with local context to influence political behavior.

Luiz Guzmán Valerio

Luis Guzmán Valerio graduated magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, with a B.A. in Modern Languages (French and German). He went on to pursue a Certificate in Hispanic Studies and an M.A. in Translation, also from U.P.R., Río Piedras. He earned the M.Phil. degree in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and is currently a doctoraL candidate in the  same program where he is specializing in Hispanic Linguistics. His doctoral dissertation studies the linguistic landscape at the intersection of societal multilingualism, language policy, and bilingual education.

Laura Kaplan

Laura Kaplan is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Education Program at the CUNY Graduate Center.  She has taught ESL at Hostos Community College and Bronx Community College.  Most recently, she has been an Adjunct Professor in the MA TESOL Program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Hunter College.  She holds a Masters in TESOL from Hunter College and Masters in Latin American Studies from NYU.  Her research centers on the struggles for social justice and bilingual education by the Puerto Rican community in the South Bronx in the 1960s.  


Ralph Cintrón (Castellanos),University of Illinois-Chicago
Cary Cordova (Gray), University of Texas-Austin
Arlene Dávila (Guridy), New York University 
Johanna Fernández (Kaplan), Baruch College
Edwin Lamboy (Guzman Valerio), The City College of New York
Daniel Solórzano (Garcia), UCLA



Tatiana Reinoza is an art historian and independent curator with a specialization in U.S. Latino art. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. Her research examines the relationship between printmaking and identity formation, specifically how workshop production contributed to the shared notion of being Latina/o in the United States. Her second area of research explores art and trauma in relation to the Central American diaspora, informed by her own diasporic experience as a Salvadoran immigrant of the 1.5-generation. In the fall of 2016, she joins the Society of Fellows for a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College.  

Tatiana Reinoza

Marilu Medrano is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at UCLA.  She is currently working as a Research and Insights Analyst for Troika before she begins her position as a Research and Instructional Tech Consultant at UCLA in the Fall. She is making the finishing touches on her dissertation titled "Performance and Mestizaje in 20th/21st Century Literature of the Americas," and she will be filling Spring 2017. Other interests include developing video games with narratives geared towards reimagining the Americas and its untold (lesser known) stories. 

Marilu Medrano

Yvette Martínez-Vu received her PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from UCLA. Her dissertation, titled, " "Transindigenous Materialities: Gender, Indigeneity, and Objects in Mexicana and Chicana Performance," examined how Mexican, Chicana, and indigenous women used theatrical objects as a medium for resistance and empowerment within post-1990s performances in Mexico and the U.S. Yvette is also the co-founder of two activist collectives, the multi-institutional Chicana Motherwork collective and UCLA Mothers of Color in Academia de UCLA group. Yvette accepted a position as Assistant Director for UC Santa Barbara’s McNair Scholars Program.

Yvette Martínez-Vu

Ryan Hamilton received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2016. His dissertation focused on the processes, effects, and community reactions to state driven economic development and land dispossession in Samaná, Dominican Republic. He has worked as the Director of Public Programs for the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research and a board member and organizer with the Mayaguez Childrens Library. He was awarded a Cogut Center for the Humanities Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies at Brown University.  He is also working as the Principal Investigator in two funded conservation projects: one funded through NOA on sea grass conservation in Puerto Rico and the other through ISER Caribe on sustainable fisheries in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.  

Ryan Hamilton

Ana Báez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her dissertation engages narratives of ruins in contemporary Caribbean literary texts so as to read varying forms of engagement with the question of identity/difference for thinking the present. Her hypothesis is that recent literary texts invite new forms of reconfiguring subjects and spaces. Against the backdrop of failed utopian ideals, Ana argues that the twenty-first century literary texts she reads move beyond the impasse of identititarian foundationalism and thus rethink the terms of the political, and subsequently communitarian politics.

Ana Báez

Ariel Arnau is PhD candidate in the History department at the CUNY – Graduate Center. His research interests include the law, citizenship, the American civil rights movement, and the political culture of Latino communities in urban America. Arnau was born and raised in the Bronx and spent ten years in higher education administration and the non-profit sector in Philadelphia before deciding to return to academia. He has been teaching at Temple University as an adjunct since 2008. 

Ariel Arnau


Cary Cordova (Reinoza), University of Texas-Austin  
Ismael García (Mann-Hamilton), College of Staten Island 
Juana Goergen (Báez), Depaul University
Marissa López (Medrano), UCLA
Chon Noriega (Martínez-Vu), UCLA
Victor Vázquez (Arnau), Miami Dade College