Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows

Now in its ninth 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. 

Jessica Bird
Jessica Bird
PhD, History, Temple University
Appointed as Communications Project Manager, Center for Court Innovation
see position description
The Center for Court Innovation is a unique nonprofit organization that seeks to create a more effective and humane justice system by designing, implementing, and operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems; performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t); and providing expert assistance to justice reformers around the world. the Communications Project Manager will help the Center improve the effectiveness of its public outreach by coordinating numerous products—including reports, podcasts, videos, and information graphics— around key themes and messages. The project manager will create and plan the release of new policy papers, videos, etc., by thinking through the ideal presentation on the Center’s website, on social media, and through targeting key audiences by email or other means. The project manager also will conceive and plan events—such as panel discussions, workshops and webinars—to promote the Center’s work and educate the public on the urgent need for justice reform.
Margarita Kompelmakher
Margarita Kompelmakher
PhD, Theater History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Appointed as Community Engagement & Audience Development Manager, Alliance Theatre
see position description
The Alliance Theatre is the leading producing theater in the Southeast, reaching more than 165,000 patrons annually. Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 110 productions. The Alliance education department reaches 90,000 students annually through performances, classes, camps, and in-school initiatives designed to support teachers and enhance student learning. The Community Engagement & Audience Development Manager is responsible for refining the Alliance Theatre’s audience development strategy, overseeing its successful implementation, and leading our efforts to assess the reach and impact of our work. The primary focus of this position will be to grow the Alliance’s audience and more deeply engage its community. A secondary focus will be developing an approach to communicating to a wide range of stakeholder groups the ultimate result of the Alliance’s work in terms that are more closely aligned with its mission.
Jessica Ann Carey-Webb
Jessica Ann Carey-Webb
PhD, Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas at Austin
Appointed as Campaign Advocate, Latin America Project, Natural Resources Defense Council
see position description
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation’s most effective environmental action group, combining the power of more than two million members and online activists with the expertise of nearly 500 scientists, lawyers, policy advocates, and other professionals across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild. The Campaign Advocate will work with NRDC’s Latin America Project team on their priority campaigns to protect special areas and wildlife in the Western hemisphere. Specifically, the advocate will act as the main point of contact for the Latin America team’s engagement in our nature campaigns to save the rivers and waters of Chilean Patagonia and the grasslands in Chihuahua, Mexico. As NRDC became involved in the Chile/Patagonia campaign in 2008, the advocate will be working on a well-established project and collaborating with long-time partners to protect Chile’s vital rivers and watersheds. The newer Chihuahua campaign will allow the advocate to play a key role in helping NRDC develop strategies and relationships among local and international groups and stakeholders.
Molly Laas
Molly Laas
PhD, History of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Appointed as Editor, Data & Society
see position description
Data & Society advances public understanding of the social and cultural implications of data-centric technologies and automation. Data & Society conducts interdisciplinary research and builds a field of actors to ensure that knowledge guides development and governance of technology. The Editor will directly support the organization’s mission of advancing public understanding of the social and cultural implications of data-centric and automated technologies. The Editor will provide primary editorial support for a subset of our broad topical research areas—among them media manipulation and disinformation, the future of work, intelligence and autonomy, fairness in precision medicine—to ensure that those teams’ research balances academic rigor with legibility and accessibility. The Editor will support researchers directly by providing substantive developmental feedback on early drafts, by coordinating their teams’ peer review process, and finally, by maintaining and developing internal materials on the publication process: style guides, pipeline schedules, and a researcher handbook.
Benjamin G. Clary
Benjamin G. Clary
PhD, Comparative Literature, Emory University
Appointed as Senior Research Analyst, American Public Media
see position description
American Public Media (APM) is the largest station-based public radio organization in the United States, combining multi-regional station operations, national content creation and distribution in one organization. APM Research Lab is a division of APM, established in 2017 to inform the public by producing credible research- and analysis-based content. The Research Lab's mission is to foster an engaged democracy by inspiring curiosity, inquiry, and discussion through fact-driven, credible research and analysis. The Senior Research Analyst will join a small team of experienced researchers and will contribute to the Lab's research agenda and publication calendar. Recent projects include: a demographic analysis of congressional elections, a look at changes in the housing market in larger US cities, an exploratory study about how people think about water, and national surveys about Americans’ attitudes toward four-year degrees and labor unions.
Lara R. Langer
Lara R. Langer
PhD, Art History, University of Maryland, College Park
Appointed as Grants Manager, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
see position description
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center preserves and interprets Stowe’s Hartford home and the Center’s historic collections, promotes vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change, through programs like the Stowe House tour, the award-winning Salons at Stowe, author talks, and field trips. The Center is a nontraditional museum where visitors connect the past to the present by discussing nineteenth-century issues that resonate today. The Stowe Center’s strategic plan includes expanding its base of support through individual giving, grant funding, and planned giving. The Grants Manager will play a significant role in enacting this plan and will work closely with the Center’s Director of Development, Executive Director, and Financial Consultant, as well as program staff, to develop and write grant proposals, oversee the continued management of grant funds, monitor project milestones, and prepare final reports for funders.
Jennifer E. Cossyleon
Jennifer E. Cossyleon
PhD, Sociology, Loyola University Chicago
Appointed as Policy Advisor, Community Change
see position description
Community Change is a national organization working to end poverty, and since 1968, it has built the power of directly affected people to lead that work. Committed to the leadership of communities of color, Community Change partners with grassroots organizations to fuel a movement capable of achieving a shared vision of a country where all people and communities thrive. The Policy Advisor will research, develop, and advance policy and legislative proposals as part of the Community Change Policy Team’s work on priority issue areas. These include poverty reduction, immigration reform, economic and racial justice, and early learning and care. The analyst will work in close coordination with Community Change’s communications and organizing staff and will also collaborate with other DC-based national organizations that are working on similar issues. In addition, the advisor will help to disseminate and amplify bold policy solutions and will play a key role in advancing the organizational priorities of Community Change.
Meryleen Mena
Meryleen Mena
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder
Appointed as Policy & Budget Analyst, Citizens' Committee for Children of New York
see position description
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan child advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe. CCC is a recognized expert in advocating for child and family policies related to child welfare and juvenile justice; health and mental health; housing and homelessness; early childhood education, education, and after-school programs; as well as financial stability and healthy, affordable food. A key part of CCC’s advocacy work involves budgetary analysis, which our policy staff releases thorough summaries of preliminary, executive, and adopted budgets, as these relate to child well-being issues and our advocacy priorities. The Policy & Budget Analyst will expand upon this budgetary analysis by developing a variety of analytical and visualization tools that will help illustrate spending. The analyst’s primary goal will be to educate, engage, and mobilize New Yorkers, and build a groundswell of public support for budgetary allocations that prioritize child and family well-being.
Elandre Dedrick
Elandre Dedrick
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Stanford University
Appointed as Program Officer, German Marshall Fund of the United States
see position description
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit American public policy and grantmaking institution that strengthens transatlantic cooperation. GMF contributes research, convenes leaders, conducts leadership development, and supports civil society in the Balkans and Black Sea regions. The Program Officer will be responsible for designing curricula for leadership development content, writing concept notes on leadership development initiatives, and monitoring the further development of measurement and evaluation within the execution of GMF’s Leadership Programs. Activities will include, but not be limited to, recruitment of candidates, thought leadership on best practices of international leadership development, and development, design, and delivery of a measurement of the impact of GMF’s leadership programs for emerging, diverse political and cross-sector leaders from the United States and Europe. In addition, the Program Officer will be responsible for managing the Global Leadership Consortium, an international community of leadership development practitioners led in part by the German Marshall Fund.
Ira S. Murfin
Ira S. Murfin
PhD, Theatre, Northwestern University
Appointed as Program Manager, Chicago Humanities Festival
see position description
The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) was created to promote, support, and expand the public humanities, understanding them to be an important tool for cultivating civic conversations in Chicago and beyond. CHF explores themes that address civic and social issues of urgent and broad concern. CHF’s neighborhood-based partnerships (with cultural and civic organizations, such as schools, community centers, galleries, and performance venues), as well as a growing and more nuanced commitment to convening communities around issues relevant to their specific locales, have been vital to this. The Program Manager will elevate and deepen CHF’s existing neighborhood-driven strategy by researching the necessary intellectual, collaborative, and financial infrastructure to support these efforts. The Program Manager will conduct extensive research into the best models for programming created in dialogue with different communities and, with the input of the Programming team, create a comprehensive plan for audience outreach and partnership development.
Elizabeth H. DeYoung
Elizabeth H. DeYoung
PhD, Irish Studies, University of Liverpool
Appointed as Policy Analyst, Reinvestment Fund
see position description
Reinvestment Fund is a 30-year-old community development finance institution whose mission
Daniel Threet
Daniel Threet
PhD, Philosophy, Georgetown University
Appointed as Research Analyst, National Low Income Housing Coalition
see position description
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. The Research Analyst will assist the Vice President for Research in the acquisition and analysis of numeric and non-numeric data that inform NLIHC policy work and mission; translate these data into accessible formats for use by NLIHC staff, members, partners, and policy makers; and communicate and disseminate analyses in a manner that promotes NLIHC’s goal of ending the affordable housing crisis in the United States. Through substantive projects, the analyst will gain a deep understanding about the state of affordable housing in the United States and about practical policy solutions to homelessness and housing poverty.
Annie Galvin
Annie Galvin
PhD, English, University of Virginia
Appointed as Associate Editor, Public Books
see position description
is to build wealth and opportunity for low-wealth people and places through the promotion of socially and
Caroline F. Tynan
Caroline F. Tynan
PhD, Political Science, Temple University
Appointed as Research Manager, Committee to Protect Journalists
see position description
Founded in 1981, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an independent nonprofit organization defending journalists worldwide without regard to their political ideology. Through its work to safeguard journalists, CPJ protects the rights of all people to have access to diverse and independent sources of information. The Research Manager will guide CPJ’s research and ongoing education on emerging press freedom threats. Working closely with CPJ’s Program Director at the nexus of CPJ’s six regional programs, which cover Africa, North America, South and Central America, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa, the Research Manager will support the reporting and research on emerging global threats to press freedom that cross regions. One of the Research Manager’s main priorities will be designing a research and reporting project around one emerging press freedom issue related to CPJ’s strategic priorities: reducing online harassment, combating “fake news” laws worldwide, election monitoring, and reporting on technology and press freedom.
Nicole Marie Gervasio
Nicole Marie Gervasio
PhD, English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Appointed as Festival Programs Manager, PEN America
see position description
environmentally responsible development. The Policy Solutions group in Reinvestment Fund assesses the impact of the organization’s own investments, and conducts rigorous and objective analyses to help public and nonprofit sector clients make data-informed community development decisions. The Policy Analyst will provide essential analytic and organizational support on mixed-method research projects. This is a new position driven by our recent launch of a multiyear effort to produce a body of applied research on rental evictions in Philadelphia. This project, which will be the analyst’s main focus, will involve qualitative and quantitative data collection and analyses. Reinvestment Fund will work closely with policymakers and practitioners, using the results to design data-driven changes in law, policy, resources, programs, and practices expected to mitigate the many ways evictions impact people, communities, businesses, schools, and other institutions.
Shuxuan Zhou
Shuxuan Zhou
PhD, Feminist Studies, University of Washington
Appointed as Senior Researcher, Seattle Office for Civil Rights
see position description
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is a department in the City of Seattle government that creates policy and enforces legislation and rules that advance the civil rights of and end barriers to equity for Seattle residents. SOCR’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is 14 years old and was the first governmental effort to end institutional racism in the country. The Senior Researcher will lead the development of a bank of case studies that documents the types of challenges faced by a mature race equity initiative and illuminates the salient differentiating aspects of a tenured effort. These case studies will form the core of new training for both City of Seattle employees and other US jurisdictions endeavoring to end institutional racism. The Senior Researcher also will assist in the design and development of an RSJI Racial Equity Lab where the case studies bank will be housed. The Lab will be a multiplatform tool intended to bolster racial justice efforts.
Joseph Haley
Joseph Haley
PhD, English, Johns Hopkins University
Appointed as Program Manager, World Justice Project
see position description
The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to building knowledge, generating awareness, and stimulating action to advance the rule of law worldwide. The Program Manager will be part of the Rule of Law Solutions Initiative team—situated in the Engagement Department and reporting to the Chief Engagement Officer—surveying and documenting best practices for strengthening rule of law. The Program Manager will have lead responsibility for the research, writing, and dissemination of findings in one or more WJP priority areas of focus and will undertake a global, comparative investigation of established and emerging approaches to addressing these issues. With support from the WJP communications team, the Program Manager also will develop and implement a communications strategy for highlighting successful solutions and promoting best practice adoption among network members, donors, policymakers, and development practitioners.
Amanda Zoch
Amanda Zoch
PhD, English, Indiana University Bloomington
Appointed as Legislative Policy Specialist, National Conference of State Legislatures
see position description
Founded in 1975, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is the nation’s bipartisan organization providing state legislators and legislative staff with support, ideas, connections, and a strong voice on Capitol Hill. NCSL promotes policy innovation in many subject areas, such as health, criminal justice, education, and elections, and communication among state legislators, and also provides institutional support. NCSL operates on a bipartisan basis and does not advocate for policy positions. The Legislative Policy Specialist will work in NCSL’s State Services Division. The Division’s mission is to assist legislators and legislative staff with resources and support on a wide array of institutional issues such as staff and fiscal management. The Legislative Policy Specialist will extend NCSL’s body of knowledge on campaign finance and campaigning. After a research phase, this new work will be shared with, and used by, NCSL’s constituents.
Madhuri Karak
Madhuri Karak
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
Appointed as Community Engagement Manager, Center for Behavior and the Environment, Rare
see position description
Rare inspires change so people and nature thrive. Over more than three decades, Rare has partnered with local organizations to run more than 400 behavior change projects in nearly 60 countries, promoting community-led adoption of solutions as diverse sustainable coastal fisheries management, regenerative agriculture, recycling and waste management, wildlife demand reduction, and more. Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment was launched in 2017 to bring the best insights from behavioral science and design to tackle some of the world’s most challenging environmental issues. The Engagement Manager will be responsible for developing, executing, and managing the Center’s online community of practice strategy. The manager will partner with Rare’s Marketing and Communications team to develop the platform, and work across Rare’s global teams to develop content that attracts and engages early members of this community.
Scott Zukowski
Scott Zukowski
PhD, English, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Appointed as Outreach Programs Manager, Library of America
see position description
Library of America (LOA) is a nonprofit organization that champions the nation’s cultural heritage by publishing America’s greatest writing in authoritative new editions and providing resources and public programs that enable people to explore this rich, living legacy. In addition to its publishing mission, LOA engages readers with live and digital programs, places volumes in public libraries and schools, serves a national membership passionate about American history and literature, and partners with other nonprofit organizations to transform the lives of readers worldwide with the writings that capture America’s uniquely democratic culture and spirit. The Outreach Programs Manager will lead project management for new programs to amplify the impact of the organization’s mission and broaden its audience. S/he will also manage the development of project websites, conceive and implement public and educational programs, conduct donor and prospect research, assist with grant writing, and identify and cultivate partnerships.