Claremont, Calif. (May 4, 2015)—Pitzer College students Gabriela Ornelas ’17 and Sara Roschdi ’17 have been selected as Pitzer’s first Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program fellows. An initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MMUF aims to increase faculty diversity by supporting underrepresented students who want to pursue careers as professors. Ornelas and Roschdi are two of 10 students selected from the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges who will form the inaugural cohort of the MMUF program.
The Claremont Colleges became members of the MMUF program in January 2015 and received a $1 million grant to implement measures designed to create a more diverse faculty for America’s colleges and universities. As MMUF fellows, Ornelas and Roschdi will be provided with academic and co-curricular support through faculty mentorship, stipends for research, events and repayment of undergraduate loans up to $10,000. Associate Professor of Sociology Roberta Espinoza, who is the faculty coordinator for the MMUF program at Pitzer, will serve as both students’ faculty mentor.
Ornelas’ academic interests include analyzing students’ experiences in continuation schools through the lens of race/class/gender, and she plans to major in sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o studies. A resident assistant in the halls for first-year students, she is a member of the Latino Student Union (LSU) and served as a head coordinator of the Rockabilly Festival. She is also an intern at Chicano Latino Student Affairs and has been working as a research assistant to help establish the new First-Generation Program at Pitzer.
Roschdi’s scholarly work focuses on the impact of ethnic studies courses on high school students, and she plans to double major in sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o studies. She is a member of LSU and received the Kallick Community Service Award for her volunteer work at the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center. As part of the first group of students to participate in Pitzer’s Global Local Mentorship Project, she spent her first spring break in Costa Rica and fall semester of her sophomore year on the Pitzer in Ecuador program. She was recently selected to be student representative on the Pitzer College Presidential Search Committee.
MMUF fellows are selected based on their demonstrated academic ability and their aspirations to pursue a doctoral degree in humanities and select social sciences and physical sciences. The program continues to support fellows during their graduate and postdoctoral careers through grants, close mentoring and training.
Since 1988, more than 4,000 students have participated in the MMUF program. As of 2014, more than 500 of those students already have earned PhDs, and the majority holds an appointment in the academy.