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2023 Mellon Institute Schedule

Times are listed in CST 

Fellows: If possible, please bring your laptop or tablet with you along with headphones for your mock interview. If you need a portable digital device provided for you, please let us know in advance. 

Monday, September 18

Revised job documents due: please upload them to your shared Google Drive folders. Albert and Deanna will distribute them to your mentors. 

Tuesday, September 26

Fellows arrive in Chicago and check into the Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop (25 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661). If you arrive early (before check-in), you can leave your luggage with the hotel.​

6:00–8:00 pm: Mellon Program Director Dr. Nena Torres will host a welcome reception. Details sent via email on September 12. 


Wednesday, September 27

1:00 pm: Lunch with fellows, Deanna Ledezma, and Marina Álvarez (location TBD)

2:30 pm: Visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to see entre horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico

Thursday, September 29

In person at the University of Illinois Chicago, University Hall, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, 15th Floor 

It would be great to take some group photographs in the morning, outdoors, weather permitting. 

9:00–10:00 am: Catered Breakfast (Hannah's Bretzel) and Morning Meeting

10:00 am–10:45 am: Zoom Orientation Meeting with Mentors and IUPLR/UIC Mellon Staff

10:45 am–12:00 pm: Zoom Meeting Introducing Mentors and Fellows with Time for Breakout Rooms

12:00 pm–1:00 pm: Catered Lunch in University Hall (IDOF)

1:00 pm–1:40 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Reinoza, Dr. Laguna, and Kevin Cruz Amaya

1:40 pm–2:30 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Chaar López, Dr. Laguna, and Tor Negrete

2:30 pm–3:10 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Alma, Dr. Laguna, and Allison Sáenz 

3:10 pm–3:50 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Zamora, Dr. Laguna, and Narcisa Nuñez

3:50 pm –4:30 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Avila, Dr. Laguna, and Raquel Flecha Vega

4:30 pm–5:10 pm: Mock Interview with Dr. Ramos, Dr. Laguna, and Salvador Herrera 

Recommended Evening Activity: Art Institute of Chicago is open late on Thursdays until 8:00 pm

Friday, September 30

In person at the University of Illinois Chicago, University Hall, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, 15th Floor 

9:00 am: Catered Breakfast (Hannah's Bretzel) and Morning Meeting

9:30 am–12:00 pm: Professionalization Workshop with Albert Laguna 

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm: Catered Lunch in University Hall (Goddess and the Baker)

1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Zoom Alumni Panel with Dr. Lisa Jahn, Dr. Alberto Wilson III (Texas Christian University), and Dr. Alana de Hinojosa (Texas State University)

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm: Writing Workshop with Deanna Ledezma 

Saturday, September 30

12:00 pm: Check out of hotel room no later than noon. If your flight is later in the day, the hotel can hold your luggage for you. 

Key Information for Our Fellows


  • We have purchased your airfare and hotel accommodations in advance.

  • For those with airline tickets, you received an email confirmation from the airline company, which includes your itinerary. Deanna also sent you a PDF with your itinerary. 

  • If you bring a check-on bag, you will need to pay for it at the airport and submit a receipt for reimbursement. 


Hotel Accommodations:


  • You are staying at the Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop (25 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661). You each have your own room under your name. At the time of check-in, have your confirmation number ready.

  • The hotel will ask for a credit or debit card for incidentals that will appear as a PENDING charge on your account (maximum of $300). That card authorization hold will be removed upon checkout. If this presents an issue for you, please contact Deanna Ledezma in advance of checking into the hotel. 

  • Do not charge anything to your hotel rooms. If you buy anything, you must pay for it with your own credit card when you check out. This is very important. Mellon will not cover any of those costs.

  • There are two grocery stores located within walking distance of the Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop (both are a 2-minute walk or 0.1 mile away): Whole Foods and Mariano's. 

CTA (Public Transportation) and Ride Share:

  • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) pass, available to purchase at the airport and most train stations.

  • The Chicago Blue Line is scheduled for construction during the time of the Mellon Institute, however, trains should run regularly from O'Hare to the UIC Halsted stations. 

  • If you plan on using public transportation during your stay, we strongly recommend purchasing a CTA pass via a Ventra kiosk or the Ventra app. Save your receipt. There are 1-day ($5), 3-day ($15), and 7-day ($20) passes which includes limitless rides on CTA trains and buses. If you plan on going to places outside of our scheduled events, it may be more economical to choose a pass, rather than pay per ride ($2.25 and free transfers within two hours).

  • Ride share receipts must include proof of payment, such as the payment method/abbreviated credit card information. Save any and all documentation of your ride share. OSSR is specific about documentation.



  • The UIC staff and UIC-based fellow are not eligible for per diems. UIC-affiliated individuals can save their travel receipts (e.g., for Metra) but those reimbursements may not be approved by the grant auditors. 

  • The reimbursement process for the Fall Institute uses the same process as the Latina/o Studies Conference.

  • Only digital receipts are accepted. If you have a paper receipt, you'll need to scan or photograph it.



Purchases Approved for Reimbursements:

  • ​​Travel to and from the airport, not including airport parking

  • If you drive your own car to the airport, we will reimburse gasoline by mileage. Submit a printed map of your route with the mileage with your receipts (not gasoline receipts).

  • Baggage fees

  • Meals not covered by Mellon or hotel reimbursed at per diem rate

  • Ground transportation in Chicago: CTA train, bus, Uber,  Lyft

Meals at the Per Diem Rate:

  • Meals are not reimbursed via receipts but with a per diem rate ($5.50 for breakfast and lunch and $17 for dinner).

  • These amounts are very modest, but will hopefully help to offset the cost. 

  • The per diem rate is only eligible for meals NOT provided by the Mellon or the hotel.  See dates below for details:

    • September 26: Dinner provided by the Mellon. Per diem for breakfast and dinner.​

    • September 27: Lunch provided by the Mellon. Per diem for breakfast and dinner.

    • September 28: Breakfast and lunch are covered by the Mellon. Per diem for dinner. 

    • September 29: Breakfast and lunch are covered by the Mellon. Per diem for dinner.

    • September 30: Per diem for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if travel times are applicable. 

  • You do not save any receipts for food. 


How to Claim Reimbursements:

  • ​Fill out your reimbursement spreadsheet (link to be added).  Each of you will have a tab with your name on it. See the guidelines above and the sample provided on the spreadsheet and reach out with any questions.

  • You must include the dates and times of your departure from your home and return to your home. 

  • To expedite the process,  Deanna Ledezma must approve your spreadsheet before you submit it to the OSSR. Any errors will slow the process. 

  • Share these documents within a week of your return home for the Mellon Institute––no later than October 7, 2023.

  • Once approved, you will send a PDF of your spreadsheet and electronic receipts to the OSSR via email: and cc Deanna Ledezma and Marina Álvarez

  • Reimbursements and per diems are usually distributed with six weeks. 


Recommended Museum Exhibitions: 




There are no Covid restrictions in place at UIC. That said, masks are still very effective in protecting from infection. The choice about wearing a mask is a personal decision based on a personal assessment of risk. These following factors should be considered in a personal assessment of risk:

  • Level of local hospitalizations

  • Vaccination status against COVID-19. Vaccination and staying up to date on your vaccinations decreases risk of hospitalization and death significantly.

  • Recent infection (typically re-infection within 90 days is not likely; however, with new strains infection can occur within 90 days).

  • Whether you have any immunocompromising conditions which can elevate your risk of severe COVID-19 disease



Please feel welcome to text or call Deanna Ledezma during the Fall Institute with any travel delays, questions, or issues. Our Mellon Program Assistant Marina Álvarez will be working with us at the Fall Institute and can assist you then too.

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