Name: Lydia Sanchez
Year: 2018
Major: Political Science

Mellon Mays Fellow

Lydia Sanchez '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. Lydia researches Arabization, a post-colonial linguistic policy in Morocco and Algeria. In 2016, she spent seven months studying abroad on a Boren Scholarship with the State Department to conduct field research.

Opportunities with Mellon: “Mellon Mays has given me an excellent mentor, Gary McDonogh, and a graduate school mentor. Through the program I was able to go to a conference at Cornell which was awesome because now I have those connections with students of color who have had the same undergrad experiences. Also, talk to your professors. I love to talk to my professors; Bryn Mawr employs qualified professors who are published, who are passionate, and who want to hear.”

Taking Risks: “I’m a huge proponent of applying for everything. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of not getting it, or if it will be too difficult. I like that Bryn Mawr has encouraged me to apply to everything and not be afraid of rejection. I think that is really important because the real world is full of acceptation and rejection.”

Working with Alums: “I’ve been very fortunate to be selected as the student rep to the Board of Trustees for three years, and I love working with the alumnae. I love the stories and I love that they still love us and our campus, even though we’ve changed.”

On Bryn Mawr and a Women's College: “When I was looking at Bryn Mawr, it was the first place I really wanted to apply to because the women were so passionate about their theses and what they had studied. I wanted it to be a place where I was competitive with myself rather than my peers. I think that is what makes Bryn Mawr really special. This summer I was working in the Senate in a predominantly male environment, and Bryn Mawr has given me the two feet to stand on my own, have a backbone, and work with people with whom I may have differing opinions. I’m really happy I received an all women’s education; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m going to look back on Bryn Mawr incredibly fondly.”

Plans for the Future: “As a recipient of the State Department Boren Scholarship, which allowed me to study abroad my junior year in Rabat, Morocco, I owe the State Department one year of federal service. Therefore prior to entering graduate school I will be entering the State Department workforce for a year. I think time in the workforce will make me a stronger graduate student. After earning my advanced degree, I would like to go on to be a college dean, president, or provost. We’ll see!”