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Vanessa Christman, Assistant Dean of the College
for Access and Community Development
MMUF Administrative Coordinator
The Pensby Center
(610) 526-6594
Bethany Schneider, Associate Professor of English
MMUF Faculty Coordinator
(610) 526-5051
Jennifer Walters, Dean of the Undergraduate College
MMUF Advisor
(610) 526-5375

Mary Zaborskis
University of Pennsylvania Doctoral Student
MMUF Graduate Coordinator

Class of 2008 Fellows Cohort 17:


Dinu Ahmed Dinu Ahmed ’08, a double major in Political Science and Comparative Literature, is working with Lecturer in Political Science Deborah Harrold and Fairbanks Professor in Humanities and Professor of German and Comparative Literature Azade Seyhan. Dinu is interested in exploring the current political rhetoric surrounding terrorism and its role in propagating cultural exclusivity in the aftermath of 9/11. In order to undertake the project in a meaningful bicultural fashion, she spent this past summer formally studying Arabic, reading news reports written in Arabic, and listening to Arabic newscasts. This year, she will continue her language studies and conducting research specifically on the discourse around U.S. relations with Al-Qaeda and/or Hamas and Hezbollah.


Catherine Farman Catherine Farman ’08, is a double major in History of Art and Spanish. Her mentor is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History of Art Gridley McKim-Smith. She is interested in studying Hispanic art in the U.S. particularly the lively Chicano art scene in the Southwest. This summer she was a full-time intern at the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture in San Antonio, Texas. She helped coordinate, install, and curate two of their exhibits, one called “Juxtapositions” in which ten local artists presented works whose theme was the use of discarded or found objects. The second was titled “The Golden Age of the Alameda” focusing on the history of the theater as a venue for Mexican films.

Paula MansPaula Mans ’08, is majoring Romance Languages and her mentor is Associate Professor of History Ignacio Gallup-Díaz. This past summer, she held a two-month internship at CARACEN (The Central American Resource Center), an organization in Washington, DC that provides social, political, and legal support to the Central American immigrant community. Later in the summer, she traveled to Salvador da Bahia where she spent a month studying Portuguese and exploring Afro-Brazilian culture. As a result of this experience, she has changed her Mellon project to the study of current racial politics of Brazil with a special focus on the northeastern state of Bahia.

Project Description: For my Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Project, I will be conducting research on the history of Afro-Argentine population in Buenos Aires from approximately 1600 to 1850. The project will focus on the economic, cultural, political and artistic contributions of Afro-Argentines to Buenos Aires society during this time period as well as their long-lasting influence on Argentine national identity.


Sheena ReedSheena Reed ’08, a double major in Sociology and English, is working with Associate Professor of English Linda-Susan Beard on a project that examines the effects of the color caste system on perceptions of beauty in African American communities. She is also interested in the education of African American students, and this summer she worked as an intern at the Philadelphia Education Fund. She was able to learn about many of the issues affecting Philadelphia public schools and their students first hand. She also did independent research related to her project on perceptions of beauty.

Tiffany ShumateTiffany Shumate ’08, is a Psychology major and her two mentors are Professor of Anthropology and the Mary Hall Chase Chair in the Social Sciences and Social Work Phil Kilbride and Senior Lecturer in Education Alice Lesnik. She is interested in developing a comparative study of the development of positive self-esteem among African American students enrolled in Imhotep, an African-centered charter school, and Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. She spent the summer in Rwanda at an organization called Global Youth Connect, working with Rwandan youth groups and local non-governmental organizations to raise awareness about human rights in the wake of the 1994 genocide. She also began work on an independent documentary project consisting of interviews with young people who were orphaned by the genocide and HIV/AIDS.