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.

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

Amelia J. Dietrich
Amelia J. Dietrich
PhD, Spanish, The Pennsylvania State University
Appointed as Assistant Director for Digital Resources, Forum on Education Abroad
see position description (abstract)
The Forum on Education Abroad promotes excellence in curricular design, engages in data collection and research, conducts program assessment and quality improvement, and advocates on behalf of its over 700 member institutions and the field of education abroad. The Forum also serves institutions and organizations that sponsor and support education abroad programs for students enrolled at US colleges and universities and collaborates with international member institutions and organizations to identify and facilitate best practices for education abroad. The Assistant Director for Digital Resources will manage a number of the digital resources that the Forum provides to its institutional members and the education abroad field at large. Under the supervision of the President/CEO, and working together with other Forum staff, the Assistant Director will have primary responsibility for managing the development, production, publicity, and accessibility of the Education Abroad Digital Resource Center, an innovative resource for education abroad that is the product of a collaboration between the Forum on Education Abroad and the New York Times.
Liz Maynes-Aminzade
Liz Maynes-Aminzade
PhD, English, Harvard University
Appointed as Digital Strategist, Public Books
see position description (abstract)
Public Books (PB) is an online review of arts and ideas that blends humanities journalism with free live events. Founded in 2012 and located in New York City, their mission is to deliver knowledge to a general public hungry for informed discussion of serious ideas. Public Books provides the public with accessible, thoughtful reflections on contemporary books and the issues they raise, and enables scholars to translate their expertise into writing that engages a broad, diverse, and lively public. The Digital Strategist will work with the Editors in Chief and Managing Editor to design and implement a social media strategy for increasing the PB audience, promoting PB, and amplifying PB's impact. In this role, the ACLS Public Fellow will help organize live events, maintain regular contact with publicists and editors at presses, and form new collaborations with publications and cultural institutions. The incumbent will also have editorial duties related to expanding readership: these will include identifying books for review, commissioning reviews, helping to expand the roster of contributors, editing contributions, and proposing ideas for new forms of digital book reviewing that leverage the affordances of the online format.
Edith Doron
Edith Doron
PhD, Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen, UK
Appointed as Senior Program Manager, Nexus Projects, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
see position description (abstract)
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a catalyst for knowledge and exploration; a community leader in educational outreach; and a collector, guardian, and presenter of cultural and scientific collections and ideas. Its four distinctive museums—Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum—reach more than 1.1 million visitors and participants, on- and offsite annually. CMP is currently exploring a variety of initiatives that would leverage its unique history and assets for the benefit of its audiences. Working as part of CMP’s Department of Strategic Initiatives, the Senior Program Manager will play a crucial role in advancing these initiatives with the goal of developing at least two “Nexus Projects” that further the museums’ missions, foster cross-museum collaboration and co-creation, and set new standards in exploring the intersections of art and science. The ACLS Public Fellow will work with the CMP ideation team, external facilitators, and other relevant stakeholders to develop a nimble and flexible process for moving from an exploratory mode to the realization of innovative, tangible outcomes.
Patrick O'Shea
Patrick O'Shea
PhD, Latin American Cultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK
Appointed as Content and Research Manager, National Immigration Law Center
see position description (abstract)
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is the primary national organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants. Over the past 35 years, NILC has won landmark legal decisions protecting fundamental human and civil rights, thwarted policies that would have damaged low-income immigrant families’ opportunities, and advanced major policies that reinforce our nation’s values of equality and justice for all. As part of the communications team, the Content and Research Manager will be charged with investigating and developing highly sharable content for our website, social media platforms, and advocacy work. Using individual contacts developed through NILC’s policy and litigation efforts, the ACLS Public Fellow will develop narratives that shine a nuanced light on the issues that particularly impact low-income immigrants and their families, including access to education, immigration enforcement, racial profiling, economic security, and access to health care. The Content and Research Manager will also be responsible for developing a comprehensive media research plan to produce a pro-migrant narrative that supports NILC’s work.
Victoria R. Farmer
Victoria R. Farmer
PhD, English, Florida State University
Appointed as Senior Manager, Audience Development, Public Radio International (PRI)
see position description (abstract)
Public Radio International (PRI) is a global non-profit media company focused on the intersection of journalism and engagement to effect positive change in people’s lives. PRI’s mission is to serve audiences as a distinctive content source for information, insights, and cultural experiences essential to living in our diverse, interconnected world. PRI executes a comprehensive effort of content development, partnership collaboration, distribution initiatives, and audience engagement activities each year. With roots in public media, PRI is extending its impact through web, mobile, and social media platforms. The Senior Manager, Audience Development will work with the digital and marketing teams and will lead PRI’s efforts to analyze the behavior, needs, and networks of its digital audiences and the impact of its coverage. The senior manager will help position PRI as a leader in redefining the relevance of journalism in an age of information saturation and global interconnection. In this role, the ACLS Public Fellow will collaborate closely with software developers, social media journalists, digital producers, and the marketing team to create a new model for engaging online audiences in coverage of global news, issues, and cultures and inspiring people to move from information to action.
Keerthi C. Potluri
Keerthi C. Potluri
PhD, Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
Appointed as Strategic Outreach Manager, Central Park Conservancy
see position description (abstract)
Central Park Conservancy is a private not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore, manage, and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public. The Conservancy has overseen the investment of nearly $750 million in Central Park since its inception in 1980, is recognized as the world leader in urban park management, and sets the standard for excellence in park care. To sustain the Conservancy’s work, the Institute for Urban Parks was established in 2013. As the educational arm of the Conservancy, the Institute for Urban Parks encourages responsibility and respect for these open spaces by training and teaching urban park managers and public stewards, both locally and globally. The Strategic Outreach Manager will develop and implement a comprehensive outreach plan that leverages organizational assets (reports and other data) to reinforce the Conservancy’s leadership in urban park management and build leadership in education for urban park management and stewardship. The Strategic Outreach Manager will work as an integral part of the Institute for Urban Parks while also managing inter-departmental collaborations to support this project, most specifically with the Operations, Park Information and Archives, Marketing and Communications, Governance, and Development departments.
Rachel Feinmark
Rachel Feinmark
PhD, History, University of Chicago
Appointed as Development Communications Manager, Tenement Museum
see position description (abstract)
The Tenement Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of immigration through stories of residents of 97 and 103 Orchard Street, two buildings that housed generations of newcomers from 1863 through the 2000s. Educator-led tours through these spaces forge emotional connections between visitors and immigrants, enhancing appreciation for the profound role that immigration has played—and continues to play—in shaping America’s national identity. Founded in 1988, the Tenement Museum has been called one of the world’s best non-art museums and welcomes 210,000 visitors annually. As part of the Tenement Museum’s development team, the Development Communications Manager will work with the museum’s president, the vice president of development, and the public relations team to create and implement a communications strategy that builds the museum’s brand within the philanthropic community. Focusing on the intersection of history and immigration, health, housing and other issues, the Development Communications Manager will work with the museum’s president to develop strategic communications to position the museum as a key provider of historic context for national conversations around these and other contemporary policy discussions. Blending fundraising, thought leadership, and corporate messaging, the ACLS Public Fellow will assure the substantive intellectual content of museum communications to help position the institution for major funding.
Nathaniel K. Powell
Nathaniel K. Powell
PhD, History, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva
Appointed as Development Manager, World Monuments Fund
see position description (abstract)
World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the leading independent organization dedicated to saving the world’s most treasured places. Since 1965, WMF’s experts have been racing against time in more than 90 countries, applying proven techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF inspires an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. The Development Manager will lead efforts on a new initiative that will look beyond traditional arts and preservation funders to seek new donors who would be interested to learn of the social impact of WMF’s work around the world. In close collaboration with the Executive Vice President and the Vice President for Development, the ACLS Public Fellow will conduct research to demonstrate the relevancy of WMF’s work to those funding economic development programs in the developing world; write position papers, briefing materials, and proposals to tell a richer story of WMF’s global social impact; and participate in the cultivation strategy for these new funding streams.
Megan French-Marcelin
Megan French-Marcelin
PhD, US History, Columbia University
Appointed as Policy Research Manager, American Civil Liberties Union
see position description (abstract)
For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has served as the nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. The Policy Research Manager will anchor the ACLU’s policy research program by deepening the use of policy and social science research to enhance the organization’s advocacy to an even greater degree. The Policy Research Manager will spearhead this effort and will serve as the organization’s internal expert providing the substantive leadership to reframe, refine, seek out, and advise on the most promising research questions that will advance ACLU’s civil liberties agenda. The ACLS Public Fellow will provide supporting evidence and persuasive data to support top priority policy goals, which include ending mass incarceration, privacy in the digital age, protecting the right to vote, comprehensive immigration reform, access to abortion, and LGBTQ rights.
Nathaniel J. Prottas
Nathaniel J. Prottas
PhD, Art History, University of Pennsylvania
Appointed as Education Specialist, Museen der Stadt Wien (Vienna Museum)
see position description (abstract)
Museen der Stadt Wien (Vienna Museum) is a general-purpose metropolitan museum with a wide range of collections and exhibitions, from the history of the city to art, fashion, and modern culture. The main purpose of the museum is to collect, study, exhibit, and preserve objects germane to the history and culture of Vienna. In addition, and central to the institution’s mission in the field of public humanities, the museum hosts several exhibitions each year focusing on different aspects of the city’s history and culture, welcoming more than 400,000 visitors each year in its different locations. The Education Specialist (ES) will be a full member of the Department of Education and Visitor Services, working with the department’s director to expand the museum’s offerings in the realm of education by conducting outreach to students (from elementary to university), disadvantaged communities, and visitors to Vienna, among other groups. In particular, the ES will be tasked with enhancing collaboration between the Department of Education and Visitor Services and the museum’s six scholarly departments. Serving as a liaison among these departments, the ES will pilot a program by which educational considerations will be built into all curatorial endeavors from their first stages of development.
Nilofar Gardezi
Nilofar Gardezi
PhD, English, University of California, Berkeley
Appointed as Program Impact Analyst, Independent Media, Bay Area Video Coalition
see position description (abstract)
Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) inspires social change by empowering media makers to develop and share diverse stories through art, education, and technology. BAVC was founded in 1976 and since that time has supported increased cultural and economic participation amongst underserved communities in the Bay Area and nationally by providing access to media tools, training, and storytelling platforms. BAVC’s Independent Media department helps emerging and established artists from diverse communities tell their stories and contribute to both local and national discourse. The Program Impact Analyst’s portfolio is divided among three areas of activity: developing assessment and evaluation methodology for BAVC’s media-based programs and services; collecting and promoting findings from research and analysis; and identifying and building new partnerships with private sector and government agencies. Upon completion of the fellowship, the ACLS Public Fellow will be poised to work in a variety of contexts as a program evaluator, including in nonprofit development departments, philanthropies, or other organizations conducting program analysis on media or other projects.
Cara Shousterman
Cara Shousterman
PhD, Linguistics, New York University
Appointed as Partnerships and Engagement Manager, Harmony Institute
see position description (abstract)
Founded in 2007, the Harmony Institute (HI) is dedicated to both the study of mass communication and media effects on individuals and society, and the transfer of these insights to social scientists, data scientists, media professionals, impact funders, and other civic stakeholders. The programs at HI perform and aggregate compelling research in behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, computer science, and other research fields that are rich with insights about media impact, and make this information accessible to a wide variety of audiences. The Partnerships and Engagement Manager will be a key member of HI’s design and development team, will play an important role in the day-to-day operations of the new StoryPilot media impact app (SP), and will otherwise help establish HI as a leader in the field of scientific evaluation of media impact. In this role, the ACLS Public Fellow will help HI leverage external partners ranging from foundations, producers, and industry experts, to users of the application, and will support all types of stakeholders to find new ways to apply media for social impact.
Franz D. Hofer
Franz D. Hofer
PhD, History, Cornell University
Appointed as Outreach Specialist, Museen der Stadt Wien (Vienna Museum)
see position description (abstract)
Museen der Stadt Wien (Vienna Museum) is a general-purpose metropolitan museum with a wide range of collections and exhibitions, from the history of the city to art, fashion, and modern culture. The main purpose of the museum is to collect, study, exhibit, and preserve objects germane to the history and culture of Vienna. In addition, and central to the institution’s mission in the field of public humanities, the museum hosts several exhibitions each year focusing on different aspects of the city’s history and culture, welcoming more than 400,000 visitors each year in its different locations. The Outreach Specialist (OS) will be a full member of the Department of Marketing and Communication, working with the department’s director to expand all aspects of community engagement by conducting outreach to ethnic and cultural organizations, voluntary associations, and the city's schools. In particular, the OS will be tasked with enhancing collaboration between the Department of Marketing and Communication and the museum’s six scholarly departments. Serving as a liaison among these departments, the OS will pilot a program by which community engagement will be built into all curatorial endeavors from their first stages of development.
Michael G. Tiboris
Michael G. Tiboris
PhD, Philosophy, University of California, San Diego
Appointed as Fellow, Global Cities, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
see position description (abstract)
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is an independent, non-partisan organization committed to educating the public—and influencing the public discourse—on global issues of the day. Long known for its public opinion surveys of American views on foreign policy, The Chicago Council also brings together stakeholders to examine issues and offer policy insight into areas such as global agriculture, the global economy, global energy, global cities, global security, and global immigration. The primary responsibility of the Global Cities Fellow is to work with the studies team to develop policy-focused research, writing, and public education outreach on best policies and practices of global cities from a comparative perspective. In this role, the ACLS Public Fellow will identify best practices and lessons learned and convey them in an accessible manner to engage the general public and decision makers.
Nicole Ivy
Nicole Ivy
PhD, African American Studies, American Studies, Yale University
Appointed as Museum Futurist, American Alliance of Museums
see position description (abstract)
As the world’s largest museum service organization, the American Alliance of Museums is the only organization that serves and represents the interests of the entire field. It supports 24,000 museums, individuals, and companies by developing standards and best practices, providing resources and career development, and advocating for museums to thrive. Launched in 2008, the Alliance’s Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) helps museums foresee and respond to trends and events shaping the future. CFM provides news and reports, training, and consulting services related to forecasting and future studies, and initiates projects responding to important trends. The Museum Futurist will amplify and extend the work of CFM by helping with the research and production of CFM’s intellectual resources, products, and services; creating and delivering content (written products and presentations); generating ideas for new CFM experiments; fostering relationships with outside groups; and managing projects. The particular focus of the Museum Futurist will be identifying cultural, social, and policy trends of significance to museums, and exploring their implications for the field.
Alyssa L. Trometter
Alyssa L. Trometter
PhD, Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia
Appointed as Partnerships Manager, CGI University, Clinton Global Initiative
see position description (abstract)
Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders and innovators on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where undergraduate and graduate students, university representatives, and topic experts come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. The meeting takes place at a different college campus each spring, and brings together more than 1,000 students from over 75 countries to make Commitments to Action in CGI U's five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. The Partnerships Manager will work to expand opportunities for leading student social innovators from around the world. The ACLS Public Fellow will develop, recruit, and launch seed funding opportunities and grant-making programs for CGI U participants and research and engage with relevant foundations, individuals, or corporate donors whose philanthropic priorities are consistent with CGI U’s mission. The Partnerships Manager will also conduct high-touch outreach and communications with NGOs and develop compelling content for CGI U’s web and social media platforms.
Catherine Lena Kelly
Catherine Lena Kelly
PhD, Government, Harvard University
Appointed as Program Analyst, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
see position description (abstract)
The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is an international development program that promotes the rule of law by working with in-country partners to build sustainable institutions and societies that deliver justice, foster economic opportunity, and ensure respect for human dignity. In collaboration with in-country partners—including judges, lawyers, bar associations, law schools, court administrators, legislatures, ministries of justice, and human rights and civil society organizations—ABA ROLI designs programs that are responsive to local needs and that prioritize sustainable solutions to pressing rule of law challenges. The Program Analyst will work within the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, which supports monitoring and evaluation efforts across five regional divisions (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Middle East and North Africa). The Program Analyst will focus on one or more specific thematic areas such as anti-corruption and public integrity, access to justice and human rights, judicial reform, legal education reform, and legal profession reform to research good practices in the field, analyze current trends to support program development, design and implement evaluations, write reports for the regional divisions, present recommendations, and develop evidence-informed solutions to new and emerging issues in the fields of democracy, governance, and rule of law.
Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn
Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Columbia University
Appointed as Conservation Program Analyst, National Audubon Society
see position description (abstract)
Founded in 1905, the National Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. A powerful combination of science, education, and policy expertise combine in efforts ranging from protection and restoration of local habitats to the implementation of policies that safeguard birds, other wildlife, and the resources that sustain us all—in the US and across the Americas. Audubon's Public Policy Office is a dynamic, well-respected leader in environmental advocacy and works on challenging conservation issues including climate change, endangered species, agricultural policy, ecosystem restoration, public lands management, river conservation, and many more. The Conservation Program Analyst will help Audubon more effectively and efficiently deliver conservation results on the ground from its programmatic work across the country. The ACLS Public Fellow will be responsible for surveying various Audubon staff, chapter leaders, and volunteers to evaluate the performance of Audubon conservation programs and network communications. The analyst will then analyze conservation program project plans, strategies, tactics, and results and develop recommendations for increased efficiency in conservation delivery. Working closely with the Vice President of Government Affairs and Director of Conservation Programs, the analyst will develop strategies for conservation that are bird species-focused and assist with incorporating these strategies into organizational planning across Audubon’s priority programs.
Abigail J. Langston
Abigail J. Langston
PhD, Literature, Duke University
Appointed as Policy Analyst, Equitable Economic Growth, PolicyLink
see position description (abstract)
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works. Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of healthy food and physical activity. Findings and analyses are shared through publications, website and online tools, convenings, national summits, and in briefings with national and local policymakers. The Policy Analyst will work with the Equitable Economy team to identify the policies, business models, and strategies that advance equitable economic growth, and share these strategies with community leaders and policymakers. This work includes data collection and research, policy development, place-based initiatives, and strategic communications, including the production of a bimonthly national newsletter America's Tomorrow, which shares promising practices, thought leaders, and new research on how equity is an economic imperative, as well as the National Equity Atlas (www.nationalequityatlas.org), an online data and policy tool.
Jennifer A. Vogt
Jennifer A. Vogt
PhD, Anthropology, Vanderbilt University
Appointed as Innovation Manager, Ashoka
see position description (abstract)
Ashoka envisions an Everyone A Changemaker™ world: a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the tools, freedom, and confidence to address social problems and drive change. Ashoka Social Financial Services (SFS) builds on Ashoka’s 30-year history of identifying the world’s most powerful social innovations and engaging a global community of entrepreneurs to drive change. Nearly a decade ago, this process led Ashoka to create the SFS program, which helped pioneer the first generation of social investment vehicles and innovations. Today, Ashoka SFS is working to explore how markets can be a powerful tool to improve the quality of people’s lives. As Innovation Manager, the ACLS Public Fellow will support Ashoka SFS in identifying, researching, and analyzing market-based innovations that have the potential to change the world’s economic architecture. The Innovation Manager will be an integral member of the SFS team and will work closely with geographic diamonds in South America, North America, Africa, South Asia, Asia, and Europe. This role offers a unique vantage point to combine learning from the most powerful market-based innovations around the world with the best leading-edge academic thought leadership.
Susannah T. Laramee Kidd
Susannah T. Laramee Kidd
PhD, Religion, Emory University
Appointed as Research Analyst, Los Angeles County Arts Commission
see position description (abstract)
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding, and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County. The Commission provides leadership in cultural services for the County, including information and resources for the community, artists, educators, arts organizations, and municipalities. There are over 2,800 arts organizations and 150,000 working artists in the County of Los Angeles, creating the largest concentration of arts activity in the United States. The Research Analyst will provide support for projects on the Arts Commission’s Research and Evaluation Plan. The Analyst will also be given responsibility to develop and manage one or more projects and will carry out those projects independently, under the guidance of the Research & Evaluation Manager. Examples of the kinds of projects the Analyst might work on that are currently underway include an analysis of the impact of a civic art graffiti abatement project, the development of school district arts education data, a report on contract employees and volunteers working in LA County arts nonprofits, and the development of data visualizations to present Arts Commission data.
Zoe L. Ziliak Michel
Zoe L. Ziliak Michel
PhD, Linguistics, University of Florida
Appointed as Policy Analyst, Job Quality, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
see position description (abstract)
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) seeks to improve the lives of low-income people by developing and advocating for federal, state, and local policies to strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. CLASP’s Job Quality initiative seeks public policy changes that improve access to jobs enabling workers to achieve economic security for themselves and their families. In particular, the initiative works to research and advocate for fair paying jobs that provide adequate paid leave, schedule stability, and support for workers’ caregiving and other responsibilities. As a Policy Analyst on CLASP’s job quality team, the ACLS Public Fellow will gain a deep understanding of how policy is shaped from the early idea phase, through grassroots organizing, to the enactment of law and the implementation of new programs. Responsibilities include researching job quality issues and writing issue briefs on a range of topics, providing issue information and education to Congressional staff, and managing the content for a website highlighting businesses that support job quality public policy.