Mellon-Bouchet Fellows: Class of 2014

Dorcas Akinwande
Mellon Mays Fellow
Faculty Mentors: Julia Adams and Valarie Hansen

Dorcas Akinwande is a rising senior in Ezra Stiles College . She is interested in gender, sexuality, and popular culture in East Asian societies.  This summer, she will be conducting ethnographic fieldwork on the consumption and production of television dramas in Taiwan. She hopes to further explore the relationship between societal changes and popular media in Taiwan.


Yvette Borja
Mellon Mays Fellow
Faculty Mentor: John Bryan Starr

Yvette Borja is a rising senior in Saybrook College, majoring in American Studies with a concentration titled "Education in a Global Perspective." She is interested in researching the inequalities in public school policy, particularly as they pertain to immigrant families. Her research focuses on the passage of California's Proposition 227, a ban on native language instruction, and the consequences it has had on the state's bilingual education programs.    


Heidi Guzman
Mellon Mays Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Albert Laguna

Heidi L. Guzmán is a senior in Saybrook College from Queens, NY majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. After spending a summer conducting field work in San Juan, Puerto Rico at El Centro de la Mujer Dominicana, her research elaborates a theory of the discrimination that Dominican immigrant women in Puerto Rico face. In addition, her research also examines these women's usage of colorblind rhetoric as a proposed strategy for overcoming discrimination.


Pedro Rolon
Mellon Mays Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Paulo Moreira

Pedro’s research interests lie in the study of Boom, post-Boom, and contemporary 21st century Latin American literature and theory, analyzing how contemporary discourse informs the structure of Latin American literature today in ways similar, but decidedly distinct, from the ways it shaped the literature of the last century. He is interested in topics of gender, sexuality, realism, and narrative form relating to the literature of Latin America.



Elizabeth “EB” Saldaña
Mellon Mays Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Scott Boorman

EB Saldaña is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles, majoring in Ethnicity, Race and Migration. Her research focuses on intra- and inter-ethnic uses of social media among countries in the Arab Spring, with particular attention to Tunisia and Egypt. She hopes to spend the summer learning the technological and cultural languages of these social media.



Hana Awwad
Bouchet Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Inderpal Grewal

Hana Awwad is a Bouchet Fellow in Davenport College. A Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major, her research looks at politically-motivated posters in the Palestinian liberation movement. Driven by an interest in critical and postcolonial theory, she hopes to explore the ways in which these posters function as memorial and pedagogical projects.


Paolo Costa
Bouchet Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Gary Gorton

Paulo Costa is an Economics major and a rising senior in Ezra Stiles College. Paulo is interested in measuring the level of financial literacy in Brazil and the impact of math knowledge on people’s financial behavior. As a secondary research topic, he is evaluating the impact of financial literacy on stock market participation. In his projects, Paulo is mentored by Professor Gary Gorton and Dr. Arminio Fraga, a former Chairman of the Brazilian Central Bank.


Denise St. Jean
Bouchet Robertson Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Richard Baxtor


Denise is a senior Bouchet Robertson Fellow in Ezra Stiles College working in the laboratory of Professor Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. She is majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and broadly interested in integrating both ecology and epidemiology to address contemporary issues in public health and the containment of infectious disease. Currently, she is investigating the transmission dynamics of the zoonotic, vector borne pathogens Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti (causative agents of Lyme disease and human babesiosis, respectively). The results of this project will help develop a deeper understanding of the impact of disease coinfection, the frontrunners of B. microti invasion, as well as the mechanisms promoting the persistence of tick-borne pathogens. Denise plans to develop her research into a year long senior thesis.

Zaina Zayyad
Bouchet Fellow
Faculty Mentor: Marcia Inhorn

Zaina Zayyad is a senior in Davenport College majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (Int.) in the Neurobiology track, with coursework in Global Affairs. Zaina currently conducts research in the laboratory of Professor Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., Ph.D. at the Yale School of Medicine. Zaina began conducting research in Dr. Blumenfeld's lab during the summer after her freshman year, when as a Science, Technology, and Research Scholars (STARS) Summer Research Fellow, she conducted research using epilepsy as a model for consciousness under graduate mentor Joshua Motelow. The lab believes that the insight provided by this research may one day help prevent loss of consciousness due to epileptic seizures. Zaina continues in the lab as an Edward A. Bouchet Undergraduate Research Fellow. Complementing her interest in Neurobiology research, Zaina has previously worked on a research project aimed at exploring the perceptions of Iraqi refugees on education in Amman, Jordan. Combined with physiological understanding, the knowledge garnered from this and future research may provide insight into human cognition, even in cases of psychological trauma and psychiatric maladies. In the future, Zaina hopes to pursue an M.D/Ph.D. to become a professor in Neurology. To her, a career in research medicine and higher education signifies a dedication to realizing the immense human potential for discovery. It is her hope that the findings of her research will be used to ultimately improve medicine and the human experience.