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Online Resources

  • Institutional website: This is the public-facing website with the program mission, application, and bios of cohorts and staff members.  

  • Program Website: This is our program-specific internal website where you will find resources, the program calendar, and access to your work files. 

  • Shared Google Calendar

  • Your Shared Work Folders: Located in Google Drive

  • Facebook Alumni Page: This is where you can meet most of the fellows from previous cohorts. This is also where we post career opportunities and updates that are relevant to the entire cohort. Please send an invite request to join the group. If you're not on Facebook, we suggest asking someone in your cohort to update you on the latest job postings. 


Mellon Staff 

  • María de Los Ángeles Torres: Mellon Program Director, Dr. Torres  is a Distinguished Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago.

  • Deanna Ledezma: Mellon Program Coordinator, Dr. Ledezma is an alum of the fellowship program and earned her PhD in Art History from UIC (2022). 

  • Albert Laguna: Mellon Professionalization Consultant,  Dr. Laguna is Associate Professor of Ethnicity, Race & Migration and American Studies at Yale University.  He organizes the professionalization workshops and serves as a consultant on all aspects of the job market throughout the fellowship year. You should reach out to him for all job market-related concerns.

  • Eve Ali Boles: OSSR Director, and Mellon grant is managed by Eve Ali Boles in the UIC Office of Social Science Research (OSSR). This office is your contact for anything related to the administration of the fellowship, travel, and/or finances. Please be attentive to correspondence from them. If you have questions about your fellowship and you don't know whom to contact, it's a good idea to email Deanna first and she will try to direct you to the appropriate person.

  • Marina Álvarez: Mellon Program Research Assistant, Marina is a PhD student in the Department of Art History at UIC.



Overview of the Program


Our main program goals in the service of our mission are to provide the space, time, and support to facilitate the completion of your dissertation in a timely manner; achieve job market competency, confidence, and readiness; expand your academic network, and foster sustainable and healthy writing habits and that counter toxic mindsets and practices that are often associated with academia. We provide you with some financial assistance, but that is only one element of a multi-faceted program that includes a series of virtual and in-person professionalization workshops, a rigorous writing program, a mentorship program, support at your home institution, the cultivation of a social network, and a fully-funded opportunity to attend and/or present at a major conference. Each year is a little different! 


By accepting the fellowship, you are required to participate in all facets of the program and treat it as your "job" for the upcoming year. You must attend all virtual and in-person workshops and participate in the professionalization, writing, and mentorship program, in addition to other requirements. Repeated failures to participate in one or more components of the program will result in us contacting your home institution to reevaluate your fellowship. If anything comes up at any time that prevents you from participating, you should contact the Program Coordinator immediately to let us know. 

See the program calendar for your cohort's schedule. 

Mentorship Program


This program starts in the early fall during the Mellon Institute. In service of our mission to build a strong and lasting intellectual community and network, we pair each fellow with a faculty mentor in their area of study, often someone with recent experience on the job market. Your mentor is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the program. Mentors are chosen on the basis of their ability to enhance your research and writing and to help you prepare for the job market and academia. You will meet with them over the duration of the fellowship year, usually monthly or bimonthly. Sometimes you might want to share a draft of a chapter or article or you may want to have them look at your job documents or just talk you through any issues that come up. Mentors are given a modest honorarium for their participation in the program. 


Choosing a mentor: You will be provided a form in mid-June to indicate your top three choices of mentors. Research these carefully and speak to your advisors or center directors for help. The Mellon staff are also happy to help you brainstorm. We require that mentors are junior faculty members (with some exceptions). Once you fill out the form, we will choose your mentor based on their availability and fit (none of your choices are guaranteed). You will meet them virtually during the Mellon Institute in late September.  


Professionalization Program


The professionalization program supports you in our mission to increase job-market readiness and competency. You will work closely with our Professionalization Consultant Albert Laguna in the first six months of the fellowship program to learn about the job market, create a polished portfolio of documents, and gain interviewing experience. This will start in June when you'll meet with him for a series of virtual workshops and one-on-one meetings (see Google calendar) and then again in the fall when we will meet in person for the Mellon Institute. You will be required to complete all the major documents for the job market ahead of the workshops. This includes the cover letter, CV, teaching statement, and diversity statement. You should start working on these documents at the start of the fellowship. There are resources to help you write these documents on this website. We also recommend that you use Karen Kelsky's book and website The Professor Is In. You will then revise these documents with the help of Albert and your cohort and polish them for the Mellon Institute where you will present them to your mentors and participate in a mock interview session. 


Writing Program 


A central goal of the fellowship is to increase time to degree and cultivate sustainable practices for balancing personal lives with writing and the demands of academia. We have created a structured writing program that focuses on three tiers of creating a healthier writing practice: daily writing, planning, and support. The program will change as the year moves on, starting with learning more about your writing process, then practicing daily writing with regular check-ins and support, and then finally sharing your writing in a peer-review process. This will start out more intensive and then become increasingly independent as the year progresses. You are expected to maintain a plan of completion.

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