Four Wellesley College Students Named Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows

July 29, 2009
Molly Tarantino

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College senior Megan Carter-Thomas and juniors Joy Clarke, Stephanie Gomez and Ikhlas Saleem have been named Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellows (MMUF).

Administered by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MMUF aims to help remedy the shortage of faculty of color in higher education by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction. 

“I am grateful for the funding that the fellowship provides, but also for the community of fellows that I have had the chance to meet since being chosen,” said Carter-Thomas, a geosciences major.

This summer, she is working on a project investigating trace element concentrations in urban parks of several New England cities, under the direction of Wellesley College Associate Professor of Geosciences Dan Brabander, her mentor for the fellowship. She plans to attend graduate school and teach at either a private high school or college following graduation.

Clarke, a political science major, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in political theory and possibly a law degree. Eventually, she plans to do research for a political think tank, run a successful political campaign, be an election consultant and teach at the university level. This summer, she is developing a research project with the help of an advisor and resources from the Mellon fellowship.

“In addition to the resources and research opportunities offered by the Mellon, this fellowship is all about supporting students of color who wish to pursue advanced degrees in their field of study,” Clarke said. “The Mellon connects you to fellows across the country and around the world allowing you to network and collaborate with your peers and future colleagues.”

Gomez, an American studies and Spanish double major, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in American studies and a career in academia. For the fall of 2009, she will study abroad in Puebla, Mexico, at the Benémerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla.

Saleem, a religion major, plans to pursue a doctorate in Islamic studies or comparative religion. She is currently interning at the Aga Khan Schools in Kamapala, Uganda. She will spend the rest of the summer researching the correlation between religious theology and socioeconomic status and its effect on the environment.

Megan Carter Thomas Clarke Gomez Saleem
Wellesley College Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, from left:
Megan Carter-Thomas, Joy Clarke, Stephanie Gomez and Ikhlas Saleem.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.