Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows

Now in its tenth year, the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program places recent humanities PhDs in staff positions at partnering agencies in government and the non-profit sector for two-year appointments. These appointments provide career development opportunities in administration, management, and public service and vary from year to year depending on participating agencies. The Public Fellows program demonstrates that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy. The generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes this program possible.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Position descriptions:

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows’names for current information.

Related Links

Search for Fellows and Grantees

Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Sean K. Andrews
Sean K. Andrews
PhD, Cultural Studies, George Mason University
Appointed as Program Officer, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)
see position description (abstract)
The National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) helps liberal arts colleges and universities integrate inquiry, pedagogy, and technology. Established in 2001, NITLE is the key organization for liberal arts colleges and universities seeking to engage students in the unique learning experience that liberal education provides and to use technology strategically to advance the liberal-arts mission. NITLE works in a variety of areas including Digital Humanities, Digital Scholarship, Libraries and Scholarly Communications, Gaming and Simulations, and/or Assessment. The Program Officer engages in research regarding the impact of digital technologies on inquiry and pedagogy, and undertakes, publishes, and presents research on a relevant topic to be negotiated.
Kristen N. Hodge
Kristen N. Hodge
PhD, American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
Appointed as Policy Analyst, Association of American Universities (AAU)
see position description (abstract)
The Association of American Universities (AAU) is an organization of 61 US and two Canadian research universities distinguished by their strong programs of research and graduate and undergraduate education. Founded in 1900 by 14 universities that offered the PhD, the Association today works to promote the development and implementation of national policies supporting research and scholarship, graduate and undergraduate education and to provide forum for discussion and development of institutional policies that advance the missions of the member universities. The Policy Analyst conducts research and in support of AAU’s activities. Under the supervision of the Vice President for Policy and working with other AAU policy staff, the analyst collects and evaluates data, prepares papers and other written communications, and designs and conducts policy studies on a range of topics of importance to research universities. The analyst is also the primary staff person conducting major research in international collaborations and undergraduate and graduate education.
Barbara Ceptus
Barbara Ceptus
PhD, Cultural Studies, University of California, Davis
Appointed as Leadership Development Officer, Council on Foundations
see position description (abstract)
The Council on Foundations is a national nonprofit association of approximately 2,000 grantmaking foundations and corporations. As a leader in philanthropy, it strives to increase the effectiveness, stewardship, and accountability of its sector while providing members with the services and support they need for success. The Leadership Development Officer is responsible for the creation of new, and the enhancement of existing, Council programming designed to strengthen the leadership skills and knowledge of grantmakers and donors at various points in their careers, including foundation trustees and CEOs, midcareer professionals, and emerging leaders working in grantmaking institutions. The officer provides strategic coordination and thoughtful leadership to the design of the leadership development curriculum that can be modified to suit multiple grantmaker audiences (CEOs, trustees, emerging leaders, etc.) across diverse characteristics. The officer also oversees the design of a comprehensive Council approach to leadership development in the philanthropic field, drawing on the most relevant theoretical frameworks, and existing academic and practitioner research.
Karen Smid
Karen Smid
PhD, Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Appointed as Human Rights/Democracy Promotion Specialist, US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
see position description (abstract)
The Africa Office of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is responsible for reporting and policy formulation on issues of democracy and human rights in Africa, as well as advising Bureau and Department leaders on policy and political asylum cases and overseeing democracy promotion programs. The Human Rights/Democracy Promotion Specialist reviews and monitors democracy and human rights grants programs in assigned countries; conducts research for the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices; and liaises with other bureaus at State, and within the interagency and the NGO community, to develop and coordinate strategy and policy on priority issues. The Specialist also provides briefing documents and guidance to Bureau and Department leaders, the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration Courts, and the US Congress.
Pamela I. Epstein
Pamela I. Epstein
PhD, American History, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Appointed as Cultural Communications Specialist, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
see position description (abstract)
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) provides funding, technical assistance and promotional support for 33 City-owned cultural institutions as well as more than 1500 not-for-profit cultural organizations and programs throughout the five boroughs. This constituency represents a diverse array of internationally renowned and community-based organizations, including performing arts centers, museums, theaters, wildlife centers, botanical gardens, visual arts and film centers, and arts education. The Cultural Communications Specialist provides research and project management support for special agency initiatives working with the Deputy Commissioner and executive staff. Responsibilities include ongoing research initiatives and messaging around the City’s cultural community, such as research and planning for the development of real estate to support the workspace needs of the artist community; planning and support for professional development convenings for managers and leaders of cultural organizations to highlight best practices and emerging management techniques; researching trends in public and private funding to the arts community, fiscal trends of arts organizations, and various public relations issues that impact the Agency and the field.
Laurel Seely Voloder
Laurel Seely Voloder
PhD, Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz
Appointed as Religious Freedom Promotion Specialist, US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
see position description (abstract)
The International Religious Freedom Office of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is responsible for developing strategies to promote religious freedom and reduce religious persecution and discrimination as a core objective of US foreign policy. The Office reviews, recommends, and implements policy on international religious freedom; conducts advocacy and negotiations; manages assistance programs; and produces the Department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The Religious Freedom Promotion Specialist provides expert analytical and advisory support for the planning, development, and execution of religious freedom in US foreign policy as it relates to a geographic portfolio.
Rebecca Hewett
Rebecca Hewett
PhD, Theatre History and Criticism, University of Texas, Austin
Appointed as Cultural Programs Specialist, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
see position description (abstract)
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) provides funding, technical assistance, and promotional support for 33 City-owned cultural institutions as well as more than 1500 not-for-profit cultural organizations and programs throughout the five boroughs. This constituency represents a diverse array of internationally renowned and community-based organizations, including performing arts centers, museums, theaters, wildlife centers, botanical gardens, visual arts and film centers, and arts education. Working within the Community Development Fund, the Cultural Programs Specialist manages grant-giving to arts and cultural organizations, performs data analysis, and provides technical assistance to grantee organizations. The Programs Specialist is responsible for guiding a portfolio of 130 organizations through the CDF applicant process, participating in informational training sessions, reviewing applications, and presenting funding applications to 20 competitive funding review panels. The Programs Specialist also monitors and reports on grantee events and activities, performs fiscal analysis of grantees, advises on budget adjustments, and monitors contract compliance by organizations.
Marianne C. Zwicker
Marianne C. Zwicker
PhD, German Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Appointed as Program Officer, Institute of International Education (IIE)
see position description (abstract)
The Institute of International Education (IIE), an independent non-profit organization founded in 1919, is a world leader in the exchange of people and ideas. IIE administers over 200 programs serving more than 20,000 individuals each year. IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) provides fellowships to universities and colleges willing to host scholars whose lives or careers are threatened in their home country or region. The SRF program officer assists scholars in the transition from their SRF fellowship at their host campus to post-fellowship employment or other career-advancing activities. These responsibilities include advising and providing training opportunities for scholars in need; developing resource guides and job placement assistance; creating networking and professional development opportunities for SRF alumni; and maintaining statistical and narrative data for monitoring and program evaluation purposes. The program officer contributes to other activities of the Fund, including general outreach activities, donor reporting, travel and events planning.