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.

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Position descriptions:

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

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

Jane Greenway Carr
Jane Greenway Carr
PhD, English and American Literature, New York University
Appointed as Contributing Editor, The New America Foundation
see position description (abstract)
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. New America emphasizes work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st century information-age economy. The Foundation's mission is animated by the American ideal that each generation will live better than the last. That ideal is today under strain. With an emphasis on big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions, New America strives to communicate to wide and influential audiences in order to change the country's policy discourse in critical areas, bringing promising new ideas and debates to the fore. As part of the Editorial Team, the Contributing Editor will be responsible for strategizing about how to bridge the worlds of media and policy analysis and for contributing to the creation and dissemination of the team’s content. The Contributing Editor would support this work by helping to analyze and develop New America’s broad editorial strategy, including identifying opportunities to expand the use of social media; creating and curating blog posts, articles, opinion pieces, videos, infographics, podcasts, and multimedia packages; coordinating with the Editorial and External Relations teams and policy programs throughout the organization on editorial projects, new media initiatives, and outreach strategies; identifying opportunities for innovation online and in editorial products; contributing to public relations planning and outreach; and copyediting publications.
Rikk Mulligan
Rikk Mulligan
PhD, American Studies, Michigan State University
Appointed as Program Officer for Scholarly Publishing, Association of Research Libraries
see position description (abstract)
The Association of Research Libraries is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries at comprehensive, research-extensive institutions in the US and Canada that share similar research missions, aspirations, and achievements. ARL member libraries make up a large portion of the academic and research library marketplace, spending more than $1.4 billion every year on library materials. ARL influences the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. The Program Officer for Scholarly Publishing will help the Association and its members navigate through the transformation of the marketplace for scholarly publications in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. A joint task force of ARL and the Association of American Universities (AAU) is proposing to use the enhanced capabilities of digital technology to move the academy towards new, sustainable, affordable, innovative forms of scholarship. The focus of this joint endeavor is to improve the publishing process and access to the products of scholarly research. The Program Officer will assist the initiation and development of the ARL/AAU task force work within ARL member libraries and facilitate the task force’s consultations with key sectors of the academy.
Anh Thang Dao-Shah
Anh Thang Dao-Shah
PhD, American Studies, University of Southern California
Appointed as Program Manager, Policy and Evaluation, San Francisco Arts Commission
see position description (abstract)
Established by charter in 1932, the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is the City agency that champions the arts. We believe that a creative cultural environment is essential to the City’s well-being and we strive to integrate the arts into all aspects of city life. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Arts & Education, Cultural Equity Grants, Public Art, SFAC Galleries, and Street Artist Licensing. The Cultural Equity Grants program awards project-based grants to San Francisco Arts Organizations and individual artists to nurture the continued growth of a vibrant arts scene that celebrates the City’s diversity and it’s variety of cultural traditions. The ACLS Public Fellow will focus on grant-making systems evaluation and change. This position will report to the Cultural Equity Grants Program Director. The first year would be an assessment and recommendation phase, including an evaluation of current processes and strategy, best practice research, and recommendations aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness. We are interested in incorporating data-based decision making into all of our programmatic work, and ensuring we have measurable objectives and outcomes in place in order to understand our impact. The second year of the position would be the implementation phase, with the fellow overseeing the transition to the new systems.
Ciara Elene Murphy
Ciara Elene Murphy
PhD, Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford University
Appointed as Strategy and Planning Manager, The Public Theater
see position description (abstract)
As the nation's foremost theatrical producer of Shakespeare and new work, The Public Theater (www.publictheater.org) is dedicated to achieving artistic excellence while developing an American theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays, musicals, and innovative stagings of the classics. Founded in 1954 by Joseph Papp as the Shakespeare Workshop, The Public is dedicated to embracing the complexities of contemporary society as it continues Joseph Papp's legacy of creating a place of inclusion and a forum for ideas. The Public Theater has embarked upon a three-year transformational sustainability project, initiated through the generous support of a major donor. Working across all departments and with internal stakeholders, the Strategy and Planning Manager will collaborate with The Public’s Organizational Development Consultant to enact the sustainability plan. S/he will manage internal communication of the sustainability plan; lead data gathering and analysis; and build a tactical framework to actualize the sustainability plan’s recommendations and goals. Using the appropriate indicators and statistical tools, the Strategy and Planning Manager will also examine the institution’s resources, help explore levels and sources of program funding, and synthesize data related to The Public’s efforts to juxtapose performance with cultural dialogues and its impact on audience reception and public understanding.
Emily Dufton
Emily Dufton
PhD, American Studies, The George Washington University
Appointed as Engagement Analyst, Center for Public Integrity
see position description (abstract)
The Center for Public Integrity (www.publicintegrity.org) was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis and is one of the country's oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations. Its mission is to serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions by using the tools of investigative journalism. Investigations undertaken by the Center focus on money and politics, government waste/fraud/abuse, the environment, healthcare reform, national security and state government transparency. In 1997 the Center founded the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (icij.org) to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers, including cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. The Engagement Analyst will create the Center's outreach strategy for new readers, strengthen relationships with these digital communities, and build supporter numbers in the millennial and 30's age groups. The Analyst also will actively build and maintain online communities and various social channels around the Center's reporting areas, and partner with other organizations and new offline communities. This position offers the opportunity to create a strategy for shaping the Center's communications by leveraging new digital technologies, and to inspire new generations to take an interest and a stake in investigative reporting.
Jessica H. Neptune
Jessica H. Neptune
PhD, History, University of Chicago
Appointed as Policy Analyst, Division of Economic Support for Families, US Department of Health and Human Services
see position description (abstract)
Founded in 1965 as one of the key research and coordinating offices during the Johnson Administration’s “War on Poverty,” the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services on health; human services; disability, aging, and long-term care; and science and data policy. ASPE provides policy and economic analysis; leads special initiatives internally and across federal agencies; coordinates the Department's evaluation, research, and demonstration activities; and directs cross-Department activities such as strategic planning, legislative and budget development, and review of regulations. Integral to this role, ASPE conducts research and evaluations, develops policy analyses, and estimates the cost and benefits of policy alternatives under consideration by the Department or Congress. The Policy Analyst would work within HSP’s Division of Economic Support for Families, which focuses on policies and programs affecting various low-income populations. This includes policy development around major initiatives such as homelessness and reentry, and conducting and coordinating analysis, research, and evaluation on the safety net; economic support and opportunity; welfare-to-work issues; strengthening families and responsible fatherhood; child support enforcement; domestic violence; place-based initiatives; immigration and refugees; human trafficking; access to public assistance; and various human services programs.
Craig Eley
Craig Eley
PhD, American Studies, University of Iowa
Appointed as Digital Producer, To the Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio
see position description (abstract)
To the Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK) is a nationally-syndicated radio program produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, the second largest public radio network in the country. TTBOOK is a Peabody Award-winning “public radio magazine of ideas” with an audience of 360,000 listeners for each hour. The program is distributed by Public Radio International to nearly 200 stations around the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Miami. Broadcasting two one-hour programs each week, show topics vary widely - from politics, science, philosophy and "big ideas," to cultural trends, contemporary fiction, and pop culture. TTBOOK has interviewed many of the world’s leading writers, scientists, artists, and intellectuals, as well as dozens of Nobel laureates. As Digital Producer, the ACLS Public Fellow would be fully integrated on the TTBOOK team, working closely with our staff of award-winning public radio producers. He or she will develop the ability to identify interviewees and research topics, prep interviewers, write broadcast-style copy, edit audio, and mix sound pieces using ProTools. The Digital Content Manager should be savvy with new media platforms, be familiar with public radio as a listener, and have a passion for sharing interesting, engaging, and timely content with a wide audience. The Digital Producer will develop and implement new digital projects from research, planning, content production, through quality assurance and evaluation. He or she will work closely with other TTBOOK producers and outside experts as needed to broaden TTBOOK’s radio content for users of various digital platforms, ranging from mobile applications to e-books. Additional responsibilities include creating proposals, work estimates, budget development and management, strategic planning, and strategic visioning for how public radio can engage with technology to serve its audience.
Fari Nzinga
Fari Nzinga
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
Appointed as Public Policy Officer, New Orleans Museum of Art
see position description (abstract)
Founded in 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is the largest art museum in the Gulf South region, with a mission to inspire the love of art; to collect, preserve, exhibit and present excellence in the visual arts; and to educate, challenge and engage a diverse public. The museum’s permanent collection, which encompasses almost 40,000 objects spanning over 5,000 years, is noted for its strengths in French and American art, photography, and glass, as well as collections of African, Japanese, and Louisiana art. NOMA’s Department of Development and External Affairs works with individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies to support every facet of the museum. The Public Policy Officer would have responsibility for working closely with Susan M. Taylor, NOMA’s director, during her tenure as president of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Directors from June 2014 to June 2015; collaborating with NOMA staff to develop new and sustainable approaches in community engagement; developing a field-wide survey of how cultural organizations maneuver and adapt in a growing and competitive funding landscape such as New Orleans; and exploring and pursuing opportunities at the city, state, and federal levels to maximize support for the museum and its initiatives.
Timothy Philip Fadgen
Timothy Philip Fadgen
PhD, Political Studies, University of Auckland
Appointed as Program Manager, Social Enterprise Projects, American Refugee Committee
see position description (abstract)
The American Refugee Committee (ARC) is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that has provided humanitarian assistance and training to refugees, displaced people, and their host communities for over 35 years. ARC helps people survive conflict and crisis and rebuild lives of dignity, health, security, and self-sufficiency, and is committed to the delivery of programs that ensure measurable quality and lasting impact for the people we serve. ARC, in collaboration with partner agencies, is developing an integrated multi-service approach that addresses the need for improved health in displaced communities through social enterprise. The goal is to build a one-stop retail shop with proven social enterprises that will provide mothers with health care and medicines, clean water, and nutrition support for their families. This innovative approach to health care access is being piloted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. The Program Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the DRC Social Enterprise project and the coordination of its stakeholders, which include USAID, ARC, Healthstore Foundation, individual and corporate donors, technical institutions, Congolese individuals and others. The fellow will analyze global social and economic factors to anticipate how the business model needs to adapt for successful outcomes.
Rob Schoenbeck
Rob Schoenbeck
PhD, English, University of California, Irvine
Appointed as Partnerships Evaluation Manager, Kiva
see position description (abstract)
Kiva (www.kiva.org) is the world's first personal micro-lending marketplace with a mission of alleviating global poverty by connecting people through micro-lending. In just 8 years, Kiva has raised almost $450 million for more than 1,000,000 borrowers in 70 countries. Kiva combines the culture and approach of an internet start-up with an intense focus on serving the borrower-to-lender connection. Kiva is poised to reach $1 billion in loans by 2017 and is expanding into new areas (e.g. student loans, water, mobile, etc.). Headquartered in San Francisco, Kiva's team has 100+ employees and over 500 volunteers worldwide. The ACLS Public Fellow will support Kiva in developing scalable and efficient processes to understand the quality of the loans its partners are providing in the field. Kiva has been growing its reach and recently began working with a variety of organizations, not just microfinance institutions, to provide loan products that better serve client needs. Kiva has been testing a variety of new loan products with these field partners and would like to develop a way to easily identify those partners that are providing “good” products to their borrowers to scale with them. Additionally, the Partnerships Evaluation Manager will help develop partnerships with organizations that can perform deeper impact evaluations of our work in the field.
Cecily R. Garber
Cecily R. Garber
PhD, English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Appointed as Communications Officer, Council of Independent Colleges
see position description (abstract)
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership; advance institutional excellence; and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve the quality of education, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. As a Communications Officer for CIC, the ACLS Public Fellow will participate in all aspects of communications and public relations at a nonprofit organization that serves over 700 smaller, private colleges and universities and related supporting organizations. In addition, he or she will take a leading role in two major initiatives for CIC: 1) a College Media Conference, which is an annual meeting of public relations and communications officers in all sectors of higher education, and 2) a wide-reaching public information campaign, Securing America’s Future: The Power of Liberal Arts Education, which is being led by Georgia Nugent, recently retired president of Kenyon College.
Glenda Elizabeth Sherouse
Glenda Elizabeth Sherouse
PhD, History, University of South Carolina
Appointed as Senior Content Manager, Human Rights Campaign
see position description (abstract)
The Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org) is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation improves the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by working to increase understanding and encourage the adoption of LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. As part of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation team, the Senior Content Manager will be responsible for developing highly sharable content profiling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members with powerful narratives that align with programmatic priorities for the Foundation. Narratives exploring the following topics will be key: children, youth, parenting, workplace, HIV/AIDS, stigma, marriage, religion, faith, transgender populations, education, adoption, foster care, bullying, people of color communities, health, aging, homelessness, and more. The Senior Content Manager will also be charged with working with program directors to find individuals who have or could benefit from the work of the Foundation. S/he will then interview individuals and families with the goal of curating content for a wide variety of uses in the organization, including advocacy and policy work, online membership engagement – including social media, and media efforts.
Caroline Harper
Caroline Harper
PhD, Political Science, Howard University
Appointed as Policy Analyst, United Negro College Fund
see position description (abstract)
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion to help more than 400,000 students receive college degrees at UNCF-member institutions and with UNCF scholarship. UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college and get the education they need, and that the nation needs them to have, by awarding 10,000 scholarships and internships via 400 programs for students from low- and moderate-income families to attend more than 900 colleges and universities across the country; providing financial support for its 37 member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for scholarships and capacity building; and advocating nationally for the importance of education and college readiness through its annual television program, a national public service announcement campaign, and commentary in national media. The mission of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI) is to design, conduct, and disseminate research that helps guide policymakers, educators, philanthropists, and the general public toward improving the educational opportunities and outcomes of African Americans and other underrepresented minorities across the P-16 pipeline. The Policy Analyst will support the research activities of FDPRI with an orientation toward collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting qualitative and quantitative information. He or she also will collaborate with the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs on data analysis projects with federal education policy implications, particularly on federal financial aid; develop policy-relevant documents; and contribute to other government outreach and advocacy initiatives. In addition, through hands-on engagement, the Policy Analyst will gain experience in the build-out and administrative management of key aspects of a multi-campus scholarship program.
Joan Fragaszy Troyano
Joan Fragaszy Troyano
PhD, American Studies, George Washington University
Appointed as Public Outreach Manager, Our American Journey, Smithsonian Institution, Grand Challenges Consortia
see position description (abstract)
Our American Journey is a vibrant example of a research, education and exhibition program that promotes interdisciplinary examination of immigration and migration. Housed in the National Museum of American History Division of Home and Community Life, this initiative involves over 30 Smithsonian researchers from across the institution. Its goal is to examine the people, things, and ideas originating from waves of people coming to the United States whose interactions here make America distinctive and dynamic. It will explore how their cultures change and how these waves of migration change America. As part of the Our American Journey team, the Public Outreach Manager will fill a key component of the project by functioning as a link between our curators and researchers in various disciplines, both externally and within the Smithsonian. He/she will be responsible for working with scholars in different fields, external partners in museums and other cultural organizations, educators, and the general public to explore questions of how America’s history of migration has made it the nation it is today. The Public Outreach Manager will be charged with developing programs and materials to bring this information to key audiences in ways that illuminate historical perspectives and provide fresh contexts for important contemporary issues. By contributing to the conceptualization and development of tools and resources for national outreach through this initiative, the Public Outreach Manager will gain deep experience and master strategies for creative interdisciplinary collaborations that will position them well for future careers oriented to research, education, and exhibition programs.
Samira K. Mehta
Samira K. Mehta
PhD, Religion, Emory University
Appointed as Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Museum of Jewish Heritage
see position description (abstract)
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust educates people of all ages and backgrounds about 20th and 21st century Jewish history, before, during, and after the Holocaust. The Museum honors those who died by celebrating their lives – cherishing the traditions that they embraced, examining their achievements and faith, and affirming the vibrant worldwide Jewish community that is their legacy today. Multiple perspectives on modern Jewish history, life, and culture are presented in the Museum’s Core Exhibition and award-winning special exhibitions. Acclaimed public programs including discussions, films, plays, concerts, and innovative educational initiatives highlight the richness of Jewish culture and ideas. The Museum welcomes some 150,000 people, including 50,000 school children each year. The Museum is in a particularly vibrant period of re-examining our activities, our role in the cultural landscape, and our relevance to multiple communities. The Manager of Strategic Initiatives will participate in helping us envision what shape the Museum will take in the next decade and how best to serve existing and new audiences. The Manager will support and build upon efforts already underway and spearhead new initiatives with an eye toward establishing programmatic sustainability. The position requires close collaboration with colleagues in all of the Museum’s program areas, as well as with staff in the Communications and Development departments.
Michael G. Ursell
Michael G. Ursell
PhD, Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz
Appointed as Program Manager; Project Coordinator
see position description (abstract)
Bradley Matthys Moore
Bradley Matthys Moore
PhD, History and the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Appointed as Research and Partnerships Manager, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
see position description (abstract)
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, widely recognized as one of New York’s premier human services providers, is a 120-year-old settlement house that provides an extensive array of effective and integrated services – social, educational, legal, health, housing, mental health, nutritional, and fitness – which significantly improve the lives of 20,000 people in need each year, ages 3 to 103, on the East Side of Manhattan. Our clients include older adults, homeless and formerly homeless adults, children and families, recent immigrants, disabled persons, adult learners, and thousands more. We pride ourselves on our commitment to achieving an ongoing, organizational culture of excellence – programmatically, operationally, and fiscally – and to being the best nonprofit in New York. The Neighborhood House is now working to significantly expand our programs, organizational capacity, interconnectivity, and impact through new partnerships and seeks a Research and Partnership Manager to lead this effort. The Research and Partnership Manager will work at our main building located on East 70th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Working across the organization, with both executive and program staff, the Research and Partnership Manager will research and identify new partnership opportunities, form relationships, and develop and implement supplemental programs with academic, nonprofit, government, and corporate partners.
Rebecca Wall
Rebecca Wall
PhD, History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Appointed as Program Officer, Office of International Relations, Smithsonian Institution
see position description (abstract)
The Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations (OIR) serves as the central point for Institution-wide advice, insight, analysis, and coordination of all international activities of the Institution. OIR is the central external representative of international programs for the Institution, and leads institutional relationships with US government and international organizations, including the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, foreign embassies, and other governmental and private organizations in the US and abroad. With the mandate to build new opportunities to expand our international programs and reach, OIR works in concert with leadership of other museums and programs in setting international strategy for the institution, developing new programs, and communicating our impact. A key focus of OIR is creating greater recognition and a brand for the Smithsonian’s international activities, and in doing so helping to move these types of activities from the margins to the center of critical global debates around cultural heritage conservation, diplomacy, and development. The Program Officer will report directly to the Director of International Relations to develop strategic plans and carry out activities aimed at expanding thinking and amplifying experience at the Smithsonian Institution in the area of cultural heritage. The goal of these programs will be to highlight the Smithsonian Institution’s thought leadership in one of these areas while broadening networks and addressing emerging areas of needed scholarship and activities. The Officer will be engaged in activities around international cultural heritage conservation, celebration, and recovery. He or she will work on supporting international cultural tourism, international cultural sector professional development and advisory services, as well as other global art, history, and culture programs throughout the Smithsonian. In all of the work, the Officer will collaborate closely with OIR leadership and leaders from the Smithsonian’s culture or science units. Overall, the Officer will be responsible for taking emerging programs, ideas, research and debates and creatively finding how to bring them to key audiences in ways that provoke conversation and lead to positive action.
Jennifer Lee Moses
Jennifer Lee Moses
PhD, American History, University of Delaware
Appointed as Program Developer, National Constitution Center
see position description (abstract)
The National Constitution Center (www.constitutioncenter.org) is an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to illuminating constitutional ideals and inspiring active citizenship. Located in historic Philadelphia, the Center includes an interactive museum, serves as a hub for civic education, and functions as a national town hall for constitutional dialogue, uniting distinguished leaders, scholars, authors, and journalists from across the political spectrum for public discussion, including presidential debates. The Constitution Center’s Visitor Experience and Education Department develops and implements interpretive and public programming for all student and family visitors as well as professional development opportunities for K-12 educators. The Program Developer will report to the Vice President of Visitor Experience and Education and will work with that team on the creation and development of a range of interpretive and public programs designed to engage audiences in museum content onsite and online. This position also will work closely with key staff in the Exhibitions Department to develop programming that enhances museum exhibitions and will serve as a direct liaison to the Marketing & Communications and Development offices to help fund and promote activities. Upon completion of this fellowship, the Program Developer will have significant experience with creating and implementing museum-wide programs.