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Native scholars named first Mellon Dissertation Fellows

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902


The University of Alaska Fairbanks has named two Alaska Native doctoral students as its first Mellon Dissertation Fellows. As Mellon Fellows, Theresa John and Jordan Lewis are each eligible to receive a $30,000 stipend, and research and travel funds in addition to tuition and fees. Their fellowships include professional development opportunities, such as how to prepare for conference presentations, write grants and write for publication, how to successfully complete a doctoral dissertation, and how the tenure and promotion process works. Lewis is in his fourth year of doctoral work at UAF. His studies focus on gerontology and circumpolar health issues in rural Alaska communities. His dissertation research explores the concept of successful aging from an Alaska Native perspective. Lewis is an Aleut from Naknek. He holds a master's degree in social work from Washington University.

John is an assistant professor in the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development. She began her doctoral work in January 2007 through the Second Language Acquisition Teacher Education project at the Alaska Native Language Center. Her dissertation will include the results of her ethnographic research on Yupik dance in Southwestern Alaska, where John grew up. John holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in cross-cultural education from UAF.

The Mellon Dissertation Fellowship program was established this year after the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation pledged $700,000 to the University of Alaska Fairbanks over the next five years to provide financial support to students in the dissertation-writing phase of their doctoral programs. The fellowship program aims to increase the number of Native students earning doctoral degrees and, as a result, the number of Native faculty members. The program will fund up to four fellowships each year.

CONTACT: Theresa John at 907-952-1056 or via e-mail at lftj@uaf.edu. Jordan Lewis at 907-474-7334 or via e-mail at j.lewis@uaf.edu. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.