Fellows | 6 January 2022

Announcing THI’s 2021-2022 Undergraduate Fellows

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The Humanities Institute (THI) is thrilled to support nine THI Undergraduate Research Fellows and five THI Undergraduate Public Fellows during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Research Fellows come from a range of majors, including Literature, Linguistics, and History, and are pursuing a diverse set of projects – from examining primary source texts about weaving and witchcraft in Ancient Greece to exploring fast fashion in the age of social media. THI fellowships encourage undergraduate students to pursue original projects that build on the research and writing skills they gain during their humanities coursework at UC Santa Cruz. The experience enriches students’ learning and prepares them for future opportunities as they work closely with faculty mentors on projects of interest.

This year, THI has increased the undergraduate research award amount to $1000 to further support the next generation of humanities researchers. All nine exceptional THI Undergraduate Research Fellows will be recognized at the Humanities Division Spring Awards ceremony later this year. Sage Michaels, a History major, was awarded the Bertha N. Melkonian prize for the top proposal and will receive an additional $1000 award.

THI is also supporting five undergraduate students with Public Fellowships to connect their academic studies with projects outside of the university. Two students are serving as Digital Archivists at Watsonville is in the Heart, a community-driven public history initiative to preserve and uplift stories of Filipinx migration and labor in the city of Watsonville and greater Pajaro Valley. Two students have Editorial Assistant positions at Prison Journalism Project, a nonprofit organization that works with incarcerated writers and those impacted by incarceration to train them in the tools of journalism and help them reach a wide audience through PJP’s publication as well as through collaborations with mainstream media. One student is an Editorial Intern at The American Prospect, a magazine and website that is devoted to promoting informed discourse on public-policy matters from a progressive perspective through a narrative interpretation of complex issues. THI Public Fellowships are offering students unique opportunities to gain professional experience while making meaningful contributions to organizations, and they demonstrate the value of a humanities degree for a range of careers.

See the fellows’ projects below and check our website for student profiles in the months ahead. A list of all THI Fellows is available here.

Congratulations to our newest cohort of THI Undergraduate Fellows!


THI Undergraduate Research Fellows

Elise Benton, History/Classical Studies
“Praise the Gods and Kings: A Look at Ptolemaic Festivals in Alexandria”

Lia Bonver, Literature/Classical Studies 
“Weaving, Witchcraft, and Women in Ancient Greece”

Theresa Bostic, History/Sociology 
“Santa Cruz’s Elusive Figure: London Nelson”

Magali Chonteco, Literature/Spanish Studies
“Design, Production, and Intellectual Property: The Evolution of Fast Fashion in the Age of Social Media”

Uriel Herszage, Literature/Music
“20th Century Myth: The Epic in Modern Poetry”

Matthew Kogan, Linguistics/Literature
“When Complexity Becomes too Complex: Agreement Attraction in Embedded Questions”

Sage Michaels, History/Jewish Studies
“The Overlooked Women of the Fight for Irish Independence”
Winner of the Bertha N. Melkonian prize

Dylan Reinders, Applied Linguistics
“Compare and Contrast of Inclusivity in ESL Education in various Metropolitan Areas Across the United States.”

Maia Zelkha, History
“Pens of Iron: Echoes of the Psalms of David in Hebrew Poetry from Samuel HaNagid to Yehuda Amichai”

THI Undergraduate Public Fellows

Digital Archivists at Watsonville is in the Heart
Katrina Pagaduan, History
Markus Portacio, History/Anthropology

Editorial Assistants at Prison Journalism Project
Maxinne Virtue-Hill, Literature
Atlas Martinez, Literature

Editorial Intern at The American Prospect
Ronald Gunna⁣, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies/Feminist Studies