Headshots of 2024 Leading Edge Fellows


The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to name 21 new ACLS Leading Edge Fellows. The program, made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, supports outstanding early-career PhDs in the humanities and interpretive social sciences as they work with social justice organizations in communities across the United States.

The ACLS Leading Edge Fellowship Program facilitates and promotes the use of humanistic knowledge and methods to advance justice and equity in society. In 2024, fellows will take up two-year positions with nonprofit organizations working at the forefront of critical issues, including healthcare access, reparations, college access, immigration policy, support for asylee and refugee communities, housing justice, and equitable labor policy for farmworkers and careworkers.

The 2024 fellows earned PhDs from 18 universities and represent a wide array of humanistic disciplines, including African American studies, American culture, anthropology, dance, English, global studies, history, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, political science, sociology, Spanish, and women’s and gender studies.

The program’s host organizations, which participated in the program’s multi-stage review process, praised the variety of ways that scholars proposed to apply their humanistic expertise in service of their organizations’ missions. Incoming fellows will work in narrative strategy, campaigns research, advocacy and community outreach, and have the opportunity to learn from professionals with diverse forms of training.

“Every year, our host organization partners are impressed with the finalist candidates, who embody the best of what advanced training in the humanities has to offer: broad, systems-level thinking about social issues, ethical approaches to story gathering and storytelling, and creativity and persistence in the face of complication and nuance,” said Desiree Barron-Callaci, ACLS Senior Program Officer for US Programs. “ACLS congratulates this outstanding group of fellows, and we look forward to seeing what they accomplish with their new colleagues in communities around the country.” 

Leading Edge Fellows receive a $70,000 stipend in the first year and $72,000 in the second, plus health insurance. The award also comes with an annual budget of up to $3,000 for professional development activities, as well as networking, mentorship, and career development resources provided by ACLS.

2024 ACLS Leading Edge Fellows
Meet the Awardees