Name: Diamond Ray
Mellon Mays Fellow
Diamond Ray '18 is one of Bryn Mawr's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, a program run by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to increase the diversity of faculty within higher education. Students apply for the program their sophomore year and each year five students are selected to be a part of the program. In addition to conducting research, Mellon Mays Fellows regularly meet with their cohort to exchange ideas and share research progress. Other activities include professional development workshops, cultural outings, and meetings with other MMUF campuses.
Each fellow pairs with a faculty mentor at the College to conduct research on a topic they are passionate about. Diamond researches how the racialization of Black women in national beauty pageants is perpetuated through linguistic representations of Blackness in mass communication like social media. Her research shows that language is a significant factor in how Black women are excluded and erased while simultaneously being exotified and as something "other" on a national scale.
Opportunities with Mellon: "Mellon has provided me with the mentorship and financial resources necessary to truly focus on my research. For those wishing to apply, remember that the majority of your learning is outside the classroom in college. Think about anything that may interest you outside of class and research. You may find a gap in the literature that your work can fill."
Favorite Learning Moments: "I was initially planning to major in biology, but after taking an Intro to Linguistics class for my Cross-Cultural mode of inquiry I fell in love with the field and its many subfields. My favorite class was Structure of Zapotec, which is an indigenous language in Mexico. I worked with adding to the talking dictionaries before taking this class and it is really interesting learning the linguistic structure now. "
Benefits of the Tri-Co Consortium: "Linguistics is a tri-college major, which means I am technically majoring at Swarthmore and Haverford since Bryn Mawr has no linguistics department. I would not have had any exposure to the field if it wasn’t for the this consortium and I would not have had the amazing opportunity to work on language documentation abroad in Mexico and to become published. This was all made possible through the Swarthmore Linguistics Field School."