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The inaugural class of UNC/Mellon Humanities Futures undergraduate fellows has been announced as part of the Humanities for the Public Good initiative.

The inaugural class of Humanities Futures undergraduate fellows.
The inaugural class of Humanities Futures undergraduate fellows.

The ten fellows selected in the inaugural class — Ivana Devine, Brett Harris, Jiawei Huang, Klaus Mayr, Nate Polo, Elizabeth Russler, Sophia Houghton, Sophia Hutchens, Shawna Sheperd and Sam Zahn — will have lab-style meetings and discussions as they work on public-facing projects that forward their personal cases for a humanistic education.

The word humanities futures is written over an abstract coloring of pinks and greens in this graphic.The fellowship program will do the following:

  • Give undergraduate fellows access to tools and research which were mainly built to support their faculty mentors  —including the data from the Humanities Indicators project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, data aggregated by the National Humanities Alliance’s Study the Humanities Toolkit and an array of other studies which have examined quality of life factors beyond income as measures of success.
  • Build a mentorship system which allows the fellows to have both crucial elements of doing public humanities, namely the autonomy to name social problems on their own terms and direct their project energy to them, as well as the support to help them find allies and build concrete project management skills like devising a useful budget

In naming problems from waste management systems or women’s labor in their own hometowns, to the visibility of institutional racism and the environmental costs of fast fashion on our campus, the fellows want to build their own and others’ competencies, to forward discrete conceptions of justice concretely, and to build communities of trust and mutual understanding, with each other and with the communities they work in and seek to work with.

Read more in this blog post by Robyn Schroeder, director of the Humanities for the Public Good initiative, a four-year, $1.5-million initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which recognizes and catalyzes publicly engaged scholarly activity among humanists and humanistic social scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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