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Current Fellows

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

'23 Fellows

Photo of Elyse Decker

Elyse Decker

Advisor: Giovanna Di Chiro

Elyse Decker (she/her) is a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Global Studies with a minor in Japanese. She is an Indigenous person hailing from the Alaskan villages Seldovia and Kenai. Her research interests include how laws impact Indigenous food sovereignty, adaptability to climate change, and the application of international laws to Indigenous peoples in different global contexts. This past summer she conducted qualitative research through semi-structured interviews with experts in food sovereignty for Alaska Native peoples on the intersections and interactions between state, national, and international laws. This academic year she will write a thesis utilizing the information from those interviews and the theoretical approach Constructivism to see how international laws can better aid Indigenous peoples fight against restrictive American and Alaskan laws. Elyse is also a Japanese tutor, Richard Rubin Scholar, and KAMP scholar. After Swarthmore, she plans to enter a PhD program in Indigenous Studies focusing on food law.

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Aleina Dume

Advisor: Lisa Smulyan

Aleina Dume (she/her) is a senior majoring in Sociology & Anthropology and Educational Studies. As the first in her family to attend college, she is interested in studying the experiences of first-generation and/or low-income (FLI) students of color at elite or selective institutions. She wants to explore how students can be engaged by their peers, faculty, and various college departments in proactive, asset-based ways to provide the resources, information, and community that promotes their health and wellness, academic success, and career readiness. Aleina is also a Lang Opportunity Scholar and has facilitated FLI to Graduation, a series of college transition workshops that she developed based on the topics that researchers have found FLI students to experience the most challenges with. Ultimately, Aleina seeks to become a scholar-activist who conducts research that uplifts community members' voices, applies research to help people access resources, and advocates for fairer opportunities to live safe, fulfilling, and long lives.

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Ramiro A. Hernández

Advisor:  Mike Wilson Becerril

Ramiro A. Hernández (he/him/él) is a senior majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies, Educational Studies, and Medical Anthropology. He also holds a Minor in Medical Spanish from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and an Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Sciences from South Texas College (STC). Originally from the border community of Hidalgo, Texas, his research interests lie at the intersection of borders, migration, identity, generational memory, health and well-being, and citizenship. His most recent work includes a reporting project on deported U.S. veterans published with the Pulitzer Center and El Debate in México. This year, he is writing an autoethnographic thesis that explores his own migration journey within and across borders based on research he conducted in México City during summer 2022. After graduation, Hernandez hopes to enter a graduate program focusing on Demography, Public Policy, and Anthropology.

Major Eason '23

Major Eason

Advisor: Giovanna Di Chiro

Major is a senior from Madison, Wisconsin double majoring in Sociology and Economics, with an honors major in Sociology and honors minor in Economics. Aided by the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Giovanna Di Chiro, his research focuses on environmental justice activism. Currently he is studying resident’s response to a landfill built in a Northeast Houston neighborhood, along with the reasoning for the landfill placement. This summer, Major attended community activist meetings, partook in archival work, and analyzed historic census tract data to answer these questions. Moving forward, he plans on conducting interviews with activists and neighborhood residents. Major also is a part of C4 (Campus Coalition Concerning Chester). 


Megan Wu '23

Megan Wu

Advisor: Krista Thomason

Megan Wu is a senior from Seattle, Washington.majoring in Philosophy (honors) and Mathematics (course major, honors minor). Her research interests lie in ethics, political philosophy, and ancient philosophy. In Summer 2021, she learned Ancient Greek and wrote a research paper defending compassion for wrongdoers. Her research from Summer 2022 concerns the relationship between moral transformation and akrasia (weakness of will), and explores the implications of this relationship for our understanding of moral agency, action, and education. Aside from academics, she is the President of Swarthmore’s Philosophy GeMs (Gender Minorities in Philosophy) and is a member of Swarthmore’s Amos J. Peaslee Debate Society.

'24 Fellows

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Connor Barrett

Advisor: Madalina Meirosu

Connor Barrett (he/him/his) is a junior from Reading, Pennsylvania majoring in Sociology, Anthropology, and Education and  majoring in Economics. His research interests lie within the violence experienced by Black women and children in urban areas, specifically domestic and sexual violence. Through this research, he will analyze the ways violence in the Black diaspora have perpetuated since the Precolonial Era and continue today. The goal of his research is to use the analysis of this history to form models of community healing for communities of survivors. Connor will use his Lang Opportunity Scholarship and Voyager Scholarship to empower survivors through community-based organizations. In addition to his main research interests, he also is a research assistant exploring unequal participation in politics and gender gaps in primary/secondary school education. Outside of academics, Connor serves as Student-Body Class President, coordinator for Dare 2 Soar, a member of the FLI Council, and a tutor with Petey Greene. After graduating, he hopes to obtain a joint Ph.D. in African American Studies and a J.D.


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Yerim Kone

Advisor: Krista Thomason

Yerim Kone is a junior from Germantown, Maryland majoring in Philosophy (honors) and Mathematics (course major, honors minor). His research interests lie at the intersection of ethics and philosophy of mind. Specifically, he wants to inquire into the interconnections between all beings endowed with mind and what this reveals about the way we should treat each other. Otherwise stated, how can we describe what unites us all? How are we the same and why does this support an ethics of empathy? This past summer his research focused on how we can think of minds and how they might be present in more beings than is conventionally believed. Outside of philosophy, Yerim enjoys singing, overanalyzing Disney movies, and kickboxing.

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Jamison Terry

Advisor: Madalina Meirosu

Jamison Terry is a junior from Washington, D.C. majoring in Black Studies and Sociology & Anthropology. Her research interests consist of Radical Black Feminism, specifically Black Marxist Feminism, and Marxism. This summer, she explored Black Women’s historical and theoretical contributions to Leftist movements, particularly Communist movements of the twentieth century. Outside of academics, Jamison serves as an executive board member of the Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society, and enjoys cooking in her free time.

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Nicolas Bilal Urick

Advisor: Ben Smith

Nicolas Bilal Urick is a junior from Deir Dibwan, Palestine, and Wilmington, Delaware. He is a McCabe Scholar and a major in Peace & Conflict Studies (honors) and Arabic Language & Literature. His research interests include fictitious representations of homecoming, homemaking, and belonging in Arabic and Arab-American literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.  He is particularly intrigued by the classical realist and modernist literatures of Greater Syria. This past summer, he explored the Mahjar movement and placed its authors from Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon in conversation with their contemporaries. At a Philadelphian immigration law firm, he also consulted with individuals who recently emigrated to America and integrated their personal narratives with literary analysis. Beyond his research, Nick is a Writing Associate, a member and captain of Garnet Mock Trial, and an editor for Swarthmore Voices. After graduating from Swarthmore, Nick hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies focusing on Arabic humanities.

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Bethany Winters

Advisor: Ellen Ross

Bethany Winters is a junior from Bloomfield, Connecticut double majoring in Religion and Spanish, with an honors major in Religion and honors minor in Spanish. Her research interests lie in Christian theological notions of struggle, body, and soul, specifically within a womanist or mujerista framework. In summer 2022, Bethany attended Middlebury Spanish Language School, an intensive immersion program that encourages language fluency through the institution-specific “language pledge,” which requires students to communicate entirely in Spanish. Outside of academics, Bethany is a Writing Associate, Resident Assistant, Richard Rubin Scholar, and member of the Swarthmore College Women’s Ultimate Frisbee.