Mellon-Bouchet Fellows: Class of 2017


Cathleen Calderón
Mellon Fellow

Cathy was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and is a senior majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. For her senior thesis project, Cathy is studying a Mexica dance group, Danza Mexica Cuauhtémoc, which she has been a member of since the age of eight. Cathy is studying the Los Angeles-based group because she wants to examine how its members create alternative communities that work towards forming a cultural democracy in order to help readers understand how cultural knowledge, expression, and agency inform political education, activism, and advocacy. She is also interested in answering questions of indigeneity to understand what kind of indigenous identity the group claims and asserts, and questions of danza as an embodied cultural knowledge.


Lauren Chambers
Robertson Bouchet Fellow

Lauren Chambers is in Timothy Dwight College from Hampton, Virginia. As an astrophysics major, her research interests focus on the greater cosmological questions, such as dark matter, dark energy, and inflation. She hopes to spend the summer analyzing telescope data through an internship at a national observatory.


Victoria Hall
Bouchet Fellow

Victoria Hall, a member of Trumbull College, is majoring in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology (Int.) in the Neurobiology track. Victoria is currently conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Michael J. Higley, M.D., Ph.D. at the Yale School of Medicine in the Department of Neurobiology. Her research focuses on examining the role of neuromodulation in circuit regulation between neurons and how this synaptic regulation contributes to the development of cognitive disorders, such as Schizophrenia. This summer, Victoria is currently conducting research on this topic under the mentorship of Dr. Higley.


Victoria Hernandez
Bouchet Fellow

Victoria Hernandez is in Trumbull College and majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in the Neurobiology track. Her research focuses on understanding interneuron contributions to different neurological disorders. She is interested in exploring how specific GABAergic interneurons regulate network activity in schizophrenia mouse disease models. She is currently conducting research in Dr. Jess Cardin’s neurobiology lab at the Yale School of Medicine.


Dara Huggins
Bouchet Fellow

Dara Huggins is a Psychology major in Pierson College. While her research interests are broad, she is particularly interested in studying misogynoir, racial biases in the legal system, and mental health in the Black community. Her past projects have explored the ways in which differing contexts variably influence perceptions of Black women by outgroup members.


Mallory Isburg
Mellon Fellow

Mallory Isburg is proud member of Ezra Stiles College majoring in Anthropology. Her research focuses on the role of the contemporary indigenous women, particularly the lowland Maya of Yucatán, México. She is interested in exploring the effects of colonialism and globalization on indigenous women by examining the social, cultural and economic implications of NGOs, government programs, and other organizations affecting the sovereignty of indigenous peoples in the Americas.


Grace Pan
Mellon Fellow

Grace Pan is an intensive physics major who aspires to be an experimental condensed-matter physicist. That is to say, on a broad level, she is interested in the enigmatic, dance-like behavior of electrons on the nanoscale. She is working with Professor Judy Cha on the synthesis and transport novel low-dimensional materials–perfect playgrounds for studying electronic behavior. An avid birdwatcher, Grace might be studying avian behavior in an alternate universe.


Ava Tomasula y Garcia
Mellon Fellow

Ava Tomasula y Garcia is an American Studies major, and also part of the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights. Ava researches the “human” subject in human rights rhetoric as a legal category akin to “person” in domestic law. She uses critical race and postcolonial studies to identify definitional tropes of “person” and “human” under late, racial capitalism, specifically as seen in low-wage/informal labor legislation, and contemporary poetry.


Abdul-Razak Zachariah
Mellon Fellow

Abdul-Razak Zachariah is a Sociology major and Education Studies Scholar in Timothy Dwight College. He is deeply interested in the relationships formed within urban communities and how the development of these relationships can produce positive and negative effects on the education and life course of youth that live there. Specifically, he is studying academic mentorship programs for Black male teenagers and the organizational ideologies that mediate the relationships between mentors and mentees. While looking at individual moments of interaction, he is also interested in how socio-structural aspects of these programs could exclude certain types of Black male students or impact the way they approach dominant views of success and achievement. Outside his Mellon Mays project, he has become more interested in issues related to discipline, crime, and neighborhood safety in relation to urban child development, as well as literacy and representation of people of color in children’s literature.