2022 Mellon Mentees

Devasher headshot


Madhavi Devasher is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She studies ethnic politics with a particular focus on cross-ethnic political linkages and minority welfare in India. Before UNH, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. She received her PhD in Political Science from Yale University and was recognized as an Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She has also been awarded grants by the Stanton Foundation and the Macmillan Center at Yale University.

Hardeep Dhillon headshot


Hardeep Dhillon is a sociolegal historian specializing in the development of immigration and border controls. Hardeep focuses on the legal exclusion of Asian American communities in imperial and multiracial contexts. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the American Bar Foundation where she is completing a book manuscript that places Asian American history at the center of the legal development of twentieth century US immigration and border enforcement. She received her doctorate in History from Harvard in 2021 with a secondary focus on Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She will join the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2023.

Kaisha Esty headshot


Kaisha Esty (PhD, Rutgers University) is an assistant professor of African American Studies, History, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University. She is a historian of Black womanhood, sexuality, and slavery and its aftermath in the nineteenth-century U.S. Her first and current book project, tentatively titled, Weaponizing Virtue: Black Women and the Fight for Sexual Autonomy is an intimate study of enslaved and freed women’s lives and labor in the age of U.S. expansion and imperialism.

Cristina Faiver-Serna headshot


Cristina Faiver-Serna is a Chicana ethnic studies scholar and critical human geographer in the departments of Geography and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of New Hampshire on Penacook, Wabanaki, and Abenaki lands and waterways. She is currently a Postdoctoral Diversity and Innovation Scholar, and specializes in Chicanx and Latinx studies, women of color feminisms, environmental justice, and public health. Dr. Faiver-Serna’s current research on environmental racism in Southern California examines the spatio-temporal and scalar relationships between environmental regulation, the U.S. health care safety net, Latina community health workers, and (im)possibilities for environmental justice in port cities.

Inaash Islam headshot


Inaash Islam is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Saint Michael’s College. Her research is focused broadly on the intersections of race, anti-Muslim racism, gender, identity, and social media. More specifically, she is interested in the post-9/11 implications of anti-Muslim racism, gendered embodiment practices, and anti-Black racism in the lives of diasporic Muslim women and Black Muslims in America. As a visibly Muslim Pakistani woman, she aims to build an academic career dedicated to resisting and subverting the unequal racial and gendered power dynamics that are impacting Muslim communities across America.

Raquel Madrigal headshot


Raquel Madrigal completed her Doctoral (2019) and Master’s (2012) degrees in American Studies at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2009, Bachelor of Arts degrees in Ethnic Studies and Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on the U.S.-Mexico border as a settler colonial/imperial project, and the tensions between im/migrant rights and Indigenous struggles for sovereignty. She is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in American Studies at Vassar College, and during 2019-2021, a postdoctoral fellow of the Consortium for Faculty Diversity among Liberal Arts Colleges, and visiting lecturer at Mount Holyoke College in the Department of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies.

Asif Majid headshot


Asif Majid is a scholar-artist-educator working at the intersection of racialized sociopolitical identities, multimedia, marginality, and new performance, particularly through devising community-based participatory theatre and addressing the nexus of Islam and performance. He has published in a wide range of academic and media outlets, and his performance credits include work with the Kennedy Center (US) and the Royal Exchange Theatre (UK), among others. Currently, Asif is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, and his current book project is Making Muslimness: Race, Religion, and Performance in Contemporary Britain. Asif can be found online at www.asifmajid.com.

Ada McKenzie Thomas headshot


Ada McKenzie Thomas is Assistant Professor of English at Wheaton College. She previously taught at Bloomfield College and at the University of The Bahamas. As a comparatist, she researches a variety of literary traditions, specializing in the multilingual literatures of the African Diaspora. Professor Thomas’ background includes experience in the public humanities, as she has worked at cultural institutions including Penn Center—a National Historic Landmark Site in the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. She has also worked as a Public Scholar through the New Jersey Council for the Humanities’ Public Scholars Project. Additionally, she has led grant-funded initiatives connecting the literary arts and public discourses with communities of color.

Sahar D. Sattarzadeh Headshot


Sahar D. Sattarzadeh is an assistant professor in Comparative Global Studies and Political Economy within the Education Studies Department and an affiliate of the Africana Studies Department at DePauw University. She is also a research associate at the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Nelson Mandela University. Her teaching, research, and writing address comparative studies of Indigenous, ethnic, and racial communities via higher education and knowledge systems; human rights; media, science and technology; and activism/social movements through an integration of the arts and critical justice-oriented frames globally and transnationally.

Ximena Sevilla Headshot


Ximena Sevilla is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Rhode Island where she teaches courses about Latin American history. She earned her Ph.D. in History and an M.A in Anthropology from the University of Kansas. As an environmental historian of Latin America from Lima-Peru, she is interested in combining her fieldwork and archival work to produce the history of frontier zones, Indigenous peoples, and oral history of the Andes-Amazon region in the Americas. Her work traces back past ecological, cultural, and geopolitical considerations that have positioned this particular region as a central place within the territorial imagination of Peru, and more generally of the Andean World.

Jiyoun Suk headshot


Jiyoun Suk (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut, jointly appointed with the Program of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In her research, she looks at how the communication processes in the contemporary media environment shape social trust, activism, and political polarization, primarily employing computational methods. Her primary line of research examines the role of networked communications in bringing out voices of social justice and equality, as in the case of the #MeToo movement. Currently, she looks at how digital activism is contextualized across specific geographies and social media platforms.