2021 Mellon Mentees

Alvita Akiboh headshot


Alvita Akiboh is an Assistant Professor of history at Yale University specializing in U.S. overseas colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific. Dr. Akiboh’s research, both in the continental United States and in American Samoa, Guam, Hawai‘i, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been supported by organizations like the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Smithsonian. She is also an award-winning teacher. Akiboh earned her PhD from Northwestern University and, before coming to Yale, was a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows

Ana Almeyda-Cohen headshot


Ana Almeyda-Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Colby College, where she teaches courses on Latin American cinema and culture. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Hispanic Studies in 2020. Her work analyzes representations of popular cultural figures within Mexican and Caribbean culture and media. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach that draws from critical theories of race and gender, visual studies, anthropology, border studies, and Latino/a studies.

Ana was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and was raised in the Bronx, New York. Her transnational and multilingual life experience has shaped her hemispheric perspective, as well as her focus on diasporic subjects, migration, and go-betweens.

Jorge Cuellar headshot


Jorge E. Cuéllar is Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor in Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Cuéllar is an interdisciplinary scholar who focuses on the politics and daily life of modern Central America. His research emphasizes the life-affirming initiatives taking place in worlds characterized by social fragmentation, generalized insecurity, and environmental degradation by highlighting struggles that interrupt the logics that produce precarity, displacement, dispossession, and everyday death. At Dartmouth, he is affiliated with the Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration & Sexuality and leads the public humanities initiative, the Central America Project.

Maria Duran Photo


María J. Durán is an Assistant Professor of Latinx Cultural Studies at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on the body, gender, and political agency in 20th and 21st century U.S. Latinx cultural productions. Her other research interests include Latinx theater, third world feminisms, critical theory, and multiethnic American literature. She teaches courses in Latinx Studies. Durán is currently working on her solo-authored monograph, which examines structural violence, care, and healing in contemporary Latinx literary works. She is a proud Nicaragüense, a first-generation Latina, and a mama to three free-roaming rabbits.

Tamika Ferguson headshot


Tamanika Ferguson (she/her/hers) earned a Master’s in Africana Studies and Sociology from the California State University and a PhD in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Womxn’s Studies from Howard University. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. She specializes in communication and media studies, gender and womxn studies & carceral studies. Dr. Ferguson was awarded an American Fellowship from the American Association for University Women (AAUW) to focus on her current book project, which examines the lived experiences of incarcerated women in a holistic way, recognizing the threads of voice and agency, as well as the harm and injustices enacted on women and their bodies and the role of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) in shaping incarcerated women’s political voices, as well as their liberatory activism. Dr. Ferguson’s career goal is to build a successful career at a university or college where she will have an opportunity to pursue social change research and teach and mentor BIPOC students from first-generation and non-traditional backgrounds.

Patricia Lopez headshot


Patricia Lopez is currently an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College. Her work is situated at the intersections of historical and contemporary geographies of health and disease, racial capitalism and empire, and care and care ethics. Central to her work is an attention to anti-racist feminist praxis—from scholarship to pedagogy. She has published two edited volumes with Dr. Kathryn Gillespie, Economies of Death: Economic Logics of Killable Life and Grievable Death and Vulnerable Witness: The Politics of Grief in the Field. She is currently working with Dr. Abigail Neely on a multi-fold research project examining the lived experiences of people during the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on care labor.

Nadjwa Mayer headshot


Najwa Mayer is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth. Her research areas include cultural and literary studies, critical race and ethnic studies, religious studies, and feminist critique, focusing on US-based and transnational Muslim cultures. She is also a fellow with the Social Science Research Council’s Religion in the Public Sphere program, focusing on the cultural politics of race and religion in the US. Her first book manuscript examines 21st century global Muslim American popular cultures through the interrelations between racial, sexual, and secular politics, consumer markets, and social movements. She earned her PhD in American Studies at Yale University.

Anita J. Mixon headshot


Anita J. Mixon (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor of rhetoric and the basic course director of the public speaking program at Wayne State University. She specializes in the Black rhetorical tradition, contemporary rhetoric, race, and gender & womxn studies. Her primary area of research explores urban U.S. spaces as fruitful sites for Black womxn-identifying voices’ political possibilities, economic justice, and activist work. Dr. Mixon’s secondary area of research includes critical, anti-racist pedagogy in the basic public speaking course. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication with a rhetoric concentration and gender & womxn Studies minor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Watufani M. Poe headshot


Watufani M. Poe earned his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his Masters in History and his PhD in Africana Studies from Brown University. His manuscript project entitled “Resisting Fragmentation: The Radical Possibilities of Black LGBTQ+ Activism in Brazil and the United States” is an ethnohistoric analysis of Black LGBTQ+ activism in both countries to outline the ways Black LGBTQ people push for freedom across various social movement spaces. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Black Studies at Amherst College and will begin as an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in July of 2022.

Hector Ramos Flores Headshot


Nicolás Ramos Flores is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Colby College where he teaches courses in Caribbean and Latinx Studies. Ramos Flores researches the intersections of racial discourse, memory, and masculinity in Latinx, Caribbean, and Afro-Latin American communities. You can find his most recent article on how the zombie figure complicates human rights discourses through a racialized narrative on the island of Hispaniola in the open access journal Hispanic Issues On Line. He also has a forthcoming article on Afro-Latin American masculinities in Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. His most recent work analyzes trauma and Puerto Rican identity through the Pulse nightclub massacre commemorations in Orlando, Florida. Ramos Flores earned his Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota in 2019.

Srijana Shrestha Headshot


Srijana Shrestha is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Wheaton College, MA. She came to America from Nepal 24 years ago to attend a community college and the academic pursuit ended with a PhD in clinical psychology and women’s studies, with a minor in gerontology, from Pennsylvania State University. Srijana worked as a postdoctoral trainee at Baylor College of Medicine, where she learned to integrate her research passion with community activism. Her research focuses on improving access to mental health care in Nepal, with a special focus on improving the lives of seniors.