Mellon Foundation renews support of UIC-led Latino doctoral fellowship program

The University of Illinois Chicago will continue its leadership of a fellowship program for doctoral students working in Latino humanities through a $950,000, three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

UIC campus and red circle logoUIC, in partnership with the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, or IUPLR, has overseen the IUPLR/UIC Dissertation Completion Mellon Fellowship program since 2014, when it received an initial $800,000 grant from Mellon. The latest grant for the initiative is the third overall from Mellon, whose total support surpasses $2.6 million.

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The latest Mellon grant will fund 18 Ph.D. candidates in their sixth year from participating IUPLR member institutions to form three cohorts of six fellows per year from 2021-2024. In addition to UIC, participating universities include the City University of New York; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Houston; and the University of Texas at Austin.  

The IUPLR/UIC fellowship provides the Latino studies scholars a yearly stipend of $25,000, a dedicated mentor and a writing support program as they complete their dissertation.

“The fellowship allows these doctoral candidates to concentrate solely on dissertation writing to maximize effective progress to complete their Ph.D., increase job-market readiness, build community and impart sustainable writing habits,” said Maria de los Angeles Torres, UIC professor of Latin American and Latino studies and principal investigator of the grant.

At the completion of this final grant renewal from the Mellon Foundation, the program will transition to a permanent Latino studies humanities fellowship program at the participating universities, which have made a commitment to continue the fellowship.

“The Mellon Foundation’s backing has been vital to launch this program, sustain its growth and support dozens of scholars in Latino studies,” Torres said. “The next three years will let us develop online training sessions and work with each university to develop support services.”

Other Latino-focused initiatives led by UIC are also currently supported by the Mellon Foundation.

UIC is directing a new consortium of 16 Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs, that have R1 designation — top tier doctoral university with very high research activity — in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The initial launch of the national initiative, which is called “Crossing Latinidades,” is supported by a $150,000 officer’s grant to the department of Latin American and Latino Studies and the Office of Diversity at UIC.

UIC’s Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center is part of a leadership cohort in the Humanities Action Lab that was awarded a $500,000, three-year grant in 2020 from the Mellon Foundation to establish a national initiative to build infrastructure for minority-serving colleges and universities to foster public humanities climate leaders in a world changed by COVID-19.

More information about the IUPLR/UIC Mellon Fellowship Program is online

The Inter-University Program for Latino Research, based at the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies, consists of 21 university-based Latino research centers that aim to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S. Founded in 1983, the group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

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