New Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Announced

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 1:59 pm.

Bryn Mawr Class of 2015 members Serena Pierce, Chandrea Peng, Orsola Capovilla-Searle, Whitney López, and Esteniolla Maitre are the latest Mawrters to be named Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows.

Each fellow works over the course of two years with a professor-mentor on an individual research project. The Fellowship provides students with semester and summer grants that support their research. Weekly cohort meetings with Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) coordinators are also a key component of Bryn Mawr’s program.

“Every spring we select five promising students to be Mellon Mays Fellows, with the goal that they will enter Ph.D. programs in designated fields,” MMUF Administrative Coordinator Vanessa Christman explained.

The fellowship is intended for students from groups underrepresented in academia and/or who have demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF: to reduce, over time, the serious underrepresentation on faculties of individuals from minority groups, as well as to address the consequences of these racial disparities for the educational system itself and for the larger society that it serves.

Bryn Mawr has been a partner in this effort since the beginnings of the MMUF program in 1988.

Meet this year’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate fellows:

MMUF-2745Orsola Capovilla-Searle
Research Interest: Mathematical knots, specifically Legendrian knots.




MMUF-2751Whitney P. López
Research Interest: The social and cultural factors contributing to the unemployment and underemployment of Black, Latina, and Southeast Asian women in North Philadelphia.


MMUF-2739Esteniolla Maitre
Research Interest: How certain marginalized identities, particularly students from inner-city public school backgrounds, interact with English as both a language and an academic discipline.



MMUF-2746Chandrea Peng
Research Interest: How schools facilitate–or fail to facilitate–development of identity, especially in students for whom the American education system is a challenge–language-wise, culture-wise, and class-wise. Also interested in themes of memory and identity in refugees and their children.


MMUF-2753Serena Pierce
Research Interest: People who feel they are “in between” identities both racially and in terms of gender. Also interested in people from lower-class backgrounds at educational settings that have primarily served those from the middle and upper class.


On May 3, current MMUF seniors will present their research in an afternoon program to which all Bryn Mawr community members are invited. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. in Wyndham’s Ely Room.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is one of many programs coordinated by Bryn Mawr’s Pensby Center.

The Pensby Center (formerly The Office of Intercultural Affairs) implements programs and activities that address issues of diversity, power and privilege, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, country of origin, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and disability, with a goal of improving the campus climate and enhancing community life at Bryn Mawr College.

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