In 2008, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of New Mexico entered into a partnership to create and fund a Doctoral Fellowship Program with the goal of “Building Future Leadership for the Advancement of Native American and Latino Humanistic Social Science”. We developed a plan to increase the number of doctorates and reduce the average time for completion of the PhD in this area, while at the same time achieving professional advancement within academia and the respective professions for these fellows. The UNM program, along with similar efforts at the University of Alaska and the The Kohala Center in Hawai‘i, represent a continuing effort by the Mellon Foundation to increase faculty diversity in higher education in the United States.
In the first phase of the program from 2008-13, 23 doctoral fellows were funded at UNM across six departments in Arts and Sciences, 18 of whom have completed their dissertations as of January 2014. Their research ranges from studies of Native American history and archaeology to those that address concerns involving art, healthcare, education, economic conditions, ethnicity, food ways, language acquisition and expression, political movements, sovereignty, and sustainability. Fellows have achieved high rates of placement, including appointments to academic and professional positions locally and nationally—at institutions such as Dartmouth College, Earlham College, Mercyhurst University, Arizona State University, Brown University, University of Florida, University of Houston, Metropolitan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, and Western Washington State University. Five more fellows will attain their degrees by end of 2014. Learn more about the fellows from the five cohorts of the UNM-Mellon Program from 2009-13 in this section.
INDEX of UNM-Mellon FELLOWS by Cohort
1st Cohort (2008-2009) Teresa Córdova, Edward A. Jolie, Chalane E. Lechuga, Brian Luna Lucero, Elvira Pichardo-Delacour, Damián Vergara Wilson
2nd Cohort (2009-2010) Claudia Anguiano, Jacobo D. Baca, Kent Blansett, Eric T. Castillo, Rebeca Jasso-Aguilar, Stephanie M. Sánchez
3rd Cohort (2010-2011) Jaelyn deMaría, Sean E. Gantt, Nydia A. Martínez, Andrea L. Mays, Elaine M. Nelson, Karen Roybal
4th Cohort (2011-2012) Melvatha R. Chee, Sean Bruna-Lewis, Sonia P. Bettez, Tennille Larzelere Marley
5th Cohort (2012-2013) James Dory-Garduño
1. Teresa Córdova, Ph. D. 2012 (American Studies) Dissertation Title: Recording Nuestra Gente: Ritual Memorialization along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Teresa Córdova’s research included story narratives that connect Old and New Mexico by way of the Camino Real. Drawing from ritual experiences of marriages, death, and mythologies, she examined tragedy involving loss, coping, and the memorialization of women. Death does not end spiritual and emotional ties between the departed and their loved ones. Survivors are comforted by rituals that assist in the process of transition to a spiritual afterlife allowing them to grieve, and to memorialize those who have died tragically. With this a community can recreate ritual practices constructed by old values within new guises and narratives.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-14-Instructor, American Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
2. Edward A. Jolie, Ph. D. 2014 (Anthropology) Dissertation Title: Diversity in the Prehispanic Southwest: Learning, Weaving and Identity in the Chaco Regional System. Edward Jolie is a French and Ogala Lakokta-Hodulgee Muscogee Indian. His primary interests are in North American prehistory, perishable technologies, anthropological ethics, and Native American-Anthropology relations. He has worked a number of collections with significant perishable artifacts from the US and Mexico. For his dissertation, Ed analyzed basketry to examine social variation in the prehistoric Chaco regional system in northwestern New Mexico.
Professional Positions Held: 2010-14, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant Professor and Director, Archaeological Institute, Center for Perishables Research, Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA.
3. Chalane E. Lechuga, Ph. D. 2010 (Sociology) Dissertation Title: They’ll Expect More Bad Things from Us. Latino/a Youth Constructing Identities in a Racialized High School in New Mexico: Latino/a Youth Constructing Identities in a Racialized High School in New Mexico. Chalane’s expertise is in the areas of race, ethnicity and public education, with an emphasis on Latina/o students. She conducted fieldwork at an urban, public high school in New Mexico for this project. Her dissertation documented how high school students are racialized and gendered in the classroom and at schools. Lechuga described how Latino/a students construct their racial and ethnic identities and their attitudes toward schooling, as a way to illuminate the experience of educational inequity
Professional Positions Held: 2013-, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o Studies, Metropolitan State University, Denver; 2011-13, Program Officer and Lecturer, Office of Diversity & Inclusion and Sociology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
4. Brian Luna Lucero, Ph. D.2014 (History) Dissertation Title: Invention and Contention: Power, Ethnicity, and Memory of the Spanish Past in the American Southwest, 1848-1940. Brian’s dissertation explored the commemoration and memory of the Spanish colonial past from 1821 to 1940 in three Mexican towns that grew into prominent American cities: Tucson, Albuquerque, and San Antonio. By examining the stories about their Spanish past his work revealed how people of differing gave meaning to that places they lived and how that meaning shaped their identities as well as the flow of power between them.
Professional Positions Held: 2013- Digital Repository Assistant, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia University, New York, NY; 2011-12, Clinton P. Anderson Fellow, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
5. Elvira Pichardo-Delacour, Ph. D. 2014 (Anthropology) Dissertation Title: Quien quiere un hombre vago (sin empleo)? Who Wants an Unemployed Male? Testing the Embodied Capital Theory in Dominican Populations in the Dominican Republic and in New York City. Elvira’s research addresses concerns about female-headed households through the socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts in which they are primary economic providers. Her study focused on female biological and behavioral responses to reproductive demands, and socio-economic changes and female wage labor participation. Elvira’s fieldwork sites included Bonao, Santiago, Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic and the Dominic community in New York City, and compared re-productive behaviors between the diaspora community in NYC and the Dominican Republic.
Professional Positions Held: 2012- New York Teaching Fellows, Bilingual Education, Creston Academy for Responsibility and Excellence, Bronx, New York City, NY.
6. Damián Vergara Wilson, Ph. D. 2010 (Spanish Linguistics) Dissertation Title: Formulaic Language and Adjective Categories in Eight Centuries of the Spanish Expression of 'Becoming' /quedar(se)/ + ADJ. Wilson’s study used a written record spanning the 13th to the 19th centuries and applied a cognitive model of mental representation, the exemplar model, to account for linguistic evolution through usage. He tracks the Spanish verb quedarse, ’to stay/remain’, as it evolved into the formulaic expression of ‘becoming’, quedars. Through time, tangible cognitive categories emerged based on adjective relatedness demonstrating that formulaic linguistic forms have longevity.
Professional Positions Held: 2010-, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Spanish as a Heritage Language, Spanish and Portuguese, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
1. Claudia Anguiano, Ph.D. 2011 (Communications and Journalism) Dissertation Title: Determined DREAMers: Rhetorical Strategies of the Undocumented Immigrant Youth Social Movement. Originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Claudia's research combined communicative intersections of race, immigration politics and social movements specifically involving immigrant Latina/o youth. Her dissertation focused on the DREAM Act movement, specifically on the discursive strategies that undocumented students utilize to communicate personal agency within an anti-immigrant environment.
Professional Positions Held: 2011-2014, Lecturer in Speech, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH.
2. Jacobo D. Baca, Ph. D. 2014 (History) Dissertation Title: Somos Indigena: Ethnic Politics and Land Tenure in Modern New Mexico, 1904-2004. A native of Peñasco, New Mexico, Baca explores the modern history of Nuevo mexicano and Pueblo Indian land tenure. His dissertation seeks to displace the dominance of colonial narratives in the writing of 20th century New Mexico history, arguing for a modern assessment of interethnic and government relations in New Mexico. This work addresses the political economy of nativity and indigenity in the struggle for resource rights.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-14, Fellow, New Mexico Council on the Humanities, Albuquerque; 2008-2013, Lecturer, Chicano/a Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; 2008-13, Lecturer, Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque, NM; 2012, Myra Jenkins Fellow, Office of the State Historian, Santa Fe, NM.
3. Kent Blansett, Ph. D. 2011 (History) Dissertation Title: A Journey to Freedom: the Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972. Kent Blansett is a descendent from five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomie. His dissertation is a biography of Mohawk activist Richard Oakes, who was one of the student leaders of the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island. Blansett’s research combines an urban Indian, comparative approach and exposes the roots of modern Native Nationalism and Red Power, offering a new methodological construct for historical biography.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-14, Katrin H. Lamon Fellow, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM; 2011-Assistant Professor, Division of Social Sciences, University of Minnesota-Morris, Morris, MN.
4. Eric T. Castillo, Ph. D. 2011 (American Studies) Dissertation Title: Expressions of Another Center: Borderlands Visual Theory and the Art of Luis Jiménez. Castillo’s dissertation explored the artwork of Luis Jiménez and concepts of American art and identity. Through the lens of Borderlands Visual Theory, Eric’s research sheds static notions of “American” by examining how Jiménez’s art challenged the “center/margin” paradigm.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-, Visiting Assistant Professor, Center for Mexican American Studies and School of Arts and Art History, University of Houston, Houston, TX; 2011-13, Director, Institute of Hispanic Latino Cultures, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
5. Rebeca Jasso-Aguilar, Ph.D. 2012 (Sociology) Dissertation Title: A Comparative Study of Social Movements in Cochambamba Boliva and Mexico. Jasso-Aguilar's past research includes language needs analysis, the impact of globalization on health outcomes and policy, as well as social movements opposed to privatization. Her research focused on issues involving the emergence of organized and politicized civil societies in both Mexico and Bolivia. Rebeca’s research also seeks to understand how social movements are successfully institutionalized to represent disenfranchised classes and achieve accountability.
Professional Positions Held: 2012-14, Instructor, Sociology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
6. Stephanie M. Sánchez, Ph. D. 2013 (Anthropology) Dissertation Title: Women and Cultural Production: Fiestas, Families, and Foodways in San Rafael, New Mexico. Native of the South Valley of Albuquerque, Sánchez conducted her fieldwork in the rural community of San Rafael, New Mexico. Her dissertation examined the role played by Hispanic women in multi-generational cultural expression and transmission of knowledge and labor. Stephanie’s research analyzed the various ways in which contemporary Hispanic women conceptualize ethic identity and heritage practices through practices of traditional cooking.
Professional Positions Held: 2014-16, Teaching Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Earlham College, Richmond, IN.
1. Jaelyn deMaría, Ph.D. 2012 (Communications and Journalism) Dissertation Title: Seeds of Resistance; Harvesting Justice: An Exploration of Spaces Where Native Seeds Grow. Jaelyn deMaría is a Chicana photographer and multimedia storyteller from Albuquerque. She specializes in intercultural communication where she studies the context of globalization and free trade. For her dissertation research, Jaelyn focused on seed sovereignty, engaging stories from people who are involved in practices of sustainability and resistance to genetically engineered varieties of seeds as a means to resist corporate control of land, water and life.
Professional Positions Held: 2012-14, Post-doctoral Fellow and Instructor, University of New Mexico, Communications and Journalism, Albuquerque, NM.
2. Sean Gantt, Ph.D.2013 (Anthropology) Dissertation Title: Nanta Hosh Chahta Immi? (What Are Choctaw Lifeways?): Cultural Preservation in the Casino Era. Sean Gantt conducted his dissertation research with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) His research includes tribal economic development, Native American identity and self-representation, visual and public anthropology, and videography. For his dissertation Sean developed a study of the Mississippi Choctaw Nation’s negotiations with capitalist economic development and western cultural as a form of dialectical interaction.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-15, Post-Doctoral Associate, Native American Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI.
3. Nydia A. Martínez, Ph.D. 2014 (History) Dissertation Title: Transnational Connections of the Mexican Left with the Chicano Movement, 1960's-1970's. Native of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, Nydia’s research explores the transnational political and cultural connections between Chicano activists in the US and Mexico. Activist movements were established by Mario Cantú from the US and the Mexican Maoist leader Florencio “El Güero” Medrano. Nydia’s research identifies key historical processes such as the international struggles of the Cold War, ethnic activism in the United States as well as the Mexican “Dirty War.”
Professional Positions Held: 2013-15, Teaching Fellow, Department of History, Earlham College, Richmond, IN
4. Andrea L. Mays, Ph. D. 2014 (American Studies) Dissertation Title: The Difference of Blackness: Signifyin’ Representations of Normativity and Belonging, 1915-1945. Mays' dissertation examines significant works by African American artists, who critique 20th century national discourse of racial difference and social pathology through visual and narrative counter discourses of universality and national belonging. It offers an intersectional analysis of how African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans were strategically deployed in their works to critique U.S. projects or racialization and Western Expansion.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-14, Instructor, Women’s Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
5. Elaine M. Nelson, Ph. D. 2011 (History) Dissertation Title: Dreams and Dust in the Black Hills: Race, Place, and National Identity in America's "Land of Promise." Originally from South Dakota, Elaine specializes in comparative Indigenous, Modern U.S., and Western History. In her dissertation, Elaine studied the historical relationship between race, tourism, economy, and federal policy to showcase the tensions that exist within the larger celebratory narrative of America’s western expansion. The Black Hills landscape is the setting for conflicting concepts of place, national identity, and wealth as lands promised to the Lakota Nation were transferred to Americans.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE; 2011-13, Lecturer/Assistant Professor, History and American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota, Morris, MN.
6. Karen Roybal, Ph.D. 2011 (American Studies) Dissertation Title: Land, Gender, and the Politics of Identity Formation: Uncovering Hispana/Mexicana voices in the Southwest. Karen Roybal was raised in the small northern New Mexico village of Pecos. Her research has focused on cultural studies and southwest studies. Her dissertation included a comparative analysis of Hispana and Mexicana testimonies, or “texts” to uncover their shared history of struggle and strategies of resistance. Karen used hybrid materials from ethnography, autobiography, historiography and literary theory to examine conceptions of identity, gender, history, and cultures as these pertain to land rights in the Southwest.
Professional Positions Held: 2012-14, Visiting Scholar, Center for Regional Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM ;2011-12, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Latina/o Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.
1. Sean Bruna Ph.D 2014 (Anthropology) Dissertation Title: Sowing Seeds for the Future With Tigua History and Tradition": Diabetes Prevention and Management at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Sean Bruna-Lewis has been a research scientist on the National Institutes of Health funded “Corazon por la Vida: Comparative Effectiveness Research for Eliminating Disparities”, a large interdisciplinary study that examines promotora led hypertension management among Latinos. His dissertation research utilized community based participatory research to examine indigenous epistemologies, religious gardening practices, and diabetes prevention at Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, Texas.
Professional Positions Held: 2014-Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Western Washington State University, Bellingham, WA; 2012-14, Adjunct Faculty, El Paso Community College, El Paso, TX.
2. Melvatha Chee, Ph.D. 2014 (Linguistics) Dissertation Title: Navajo Verb Acquisition in Navajo Children Ages 13 Months - 10 years. Melvatha is a Diné woman from Lake Valley, New Mexico. Her dissertation research represents a Native speaker contribution to understanding language development in morphologically rich languages by focusing on how children acquire the complex Navajo verb construction using functional and cognitive approaches. She works with children between the age of 3 months and 10 years. Melvatha research findings will provide insight and a re-examination of pedagogical approaches in the acquisition of an indigenous and polysynthetic language.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-14, Teaching Assistant, Department of Linguistics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
3. Sonia Bettez, Ph.D.2013 (Sociology) Dissertation Title: The Social Transformation of Health Inequities: Understanding the Dominant Disparities Discourse in the United States from 1970 to 2010. Sonia was born and grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and considers herself bilingual as well as and bicultural. Her doctoral research examines the intersection of health, race and ethnic relations, particularly those faced by Latino communities. Sonia’s work is targeted to individual actors and the structures that promote health and illness society health policy.
Professional Positions Held: 2008-, Principal and Owner, Sonia Bettez and Associates, Santa Fe, NM.
4. Tennille Marley, Ph.D. 2013 (Sociology) Dissertation Title: Indigenous Knowledge, Land, History, and Health: The Construction of Diabetes on an American Indian Reservation. Tenille is White Mountain Apache and grew up on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona. Having grown up on the reservation Tennile understands firsthand the health challenges that American Indian people face. Tennile’s dissertation research provides a better understanding of the myriad of health problems facing Apaches from sociological and policy perspectives.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-, Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
1. James Dory-Garduño, Ph.D. 2013 (History –Medieval Studies) Dissertation Title: The Forging of Castilian Law: Land Disputes before the Real Audiencia and the Transmission of a Legal Tradition. Dory-Garduño’s research interests include the legal history of the kingdom of Castile, New Mexico, and U.S. Constitutional Law. He holds a JD from the UNM School of Law. His dissertation examined Castilian law in the13th and 14th centuries, the application of this law in the Audiencia Real Castellana in the 15th century, and the transmission of this law to the Americas.
Professional Positions Held: 2013-, Principal and Owner, Dory-Garduño Law Firm, LLC, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, NM.
Melissa Axelrod, Department of Linguistics
Teresa L. Córdova, School of Architecture and Planning
Rose T. Díaz, Research Historian, University Libraries
L. Manuel García y Griego, Department of History; Chicano/Mexicano/Hispano Studies
Linda B. Hall, Department of History
Brian E. Herrera, Department of Theater and Dance
Ted Jojola, Community and Regional Planning
Enrique LaMadrid, Chicano/Mexicano/Hispano Studies; Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Lloyd Lee, Native American Studies
Nancy López, Department of Sociology
Ann Massmann, Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, University Libraries
Bárbara O. Reyes, Department of History; Women Studies Program
Ilia Rodríguez, Department of Communications and Journalism
Silvia Rodríguez, Department of Anthropology
Beverly R. Singer, Department of Anthropology; Native American Studies
Michael L. Trujillo, Department of American Studies