Claremont, Calif. (May 24, 2021)—Pitzer College students Robert Green ’23, Quentin Jenkins Jr. ’23, Sergio Quechol ’23, and Jocelyn Vega-Robledo ’23 have been selected for the 2021 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program. The MMUF program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the ranks of institutions of higher learning.
With support from the Claremont Colleges MMUF program, Green, Jenkins, Quechol, and Vega-Robledo plan to undertake a wide variety of research projects:
Robert Green ’23, a history major, will examine critical race theory and racial formation within the early 19th-century abolitionist movement to show a historical trend of Black resistance and resilience. Green plans to pursue a PhD in African American Studies.
Quentin Jenkins Jr. ’23, a sociology major from Chicago, Illinois, will conduct qualitative research examining the ways disciplinary policies and punitive practices in the education system disproportionately impact Black and Brown students. He hopes to shed light on how instruments of surveillance in schools and educational policies can negatively impact Black and Brown students’ relationship with the education system. Jenkins plans to pursue a PhD in sociology of education.
Sergio Quechol ’23, a gender and women studies and Latin American studies major, will conduct research through oral histories to examine trans violence and resistance in Latin America—specifically Mexico, Brazil, and El Salvador—to explore both the impact of mutual aid/care and the integrity of pleasure and what that looks like for a community that is continuously targeted by family and (intra)community members and the state. Quechol plans to pursue a PhD in gender and women studies.
Jocelyn Vega-Robledo ’23, a sociology, and Chicano/a-Latino/a studies double major, will research parental involvement of Latinx agricultural workers in their children’s academic planning and college enrollment process. She plans to pursue a PhD in sociology to become a professor.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program was established in 1988. MMUF fellows are selected for their demonstrated academic ability and their aspirations to pursue a doctoral degree in humanities and select social and physical sciences. The program continues to support fellows during their graduate and postdoctoral careers through grants, close mentoring, and training. The name of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship honors Benjamin Elijah Mays (1894-1984), former president of Morehouse College and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Claremont Colleges became members of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships program in 2015 and received a $1 million grant to implement measures designed to create a more diverse faculty for America’s colleges and universities. The Claremont Colleges MMUF program selects a new cohort of 10 sophomores each spring for an annual cohort size of 20 juniors and seniors from across the Claremont Colleges.
At Pitzer, Shelva Paulse, assistant dean of faculty, has served on the MMUF Steering Committee since the 2017-18 academic year. Assistant Professor of Political Studies Hanzhang Liu served as the 2020-21 MMUF faculty representative, a role which rotates every year.