Monday, June 3, 2013

From UNCF/Mellon to AALCI

Corey Reed, Khadeidra Billingsley, and Courtnee Fenner
Nearly every year so far, our program has included students who participated in the UNCF/Mellon Program, directed by the legendary Cynthia Spence at Spelman College. Although she concluded her term as dean many years ago, a number of us still only refer to her as "Dean Spence." She has served as director of the UNCF/Mellon program since 1996 and has helped facilitated the educational and professional journeys of a wide range and large number of students.

As if being in the company of one legend wasn't enough, students in the UNCF/Mellon program also get the opportunity to work with Professor Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper (also known as Dr. D.A.S.H) during their first summer of being Mellon Fellows. Dr. D.A.S.H runs the summer institute and remains a constant source of support for Fellows. 

This summer, three of our Fellows -- Corey Reed (Morehouse College), Khadeidra Billingsley (Clark Atlanta University), and Courtnee Fenner (Dillard University) -- are UNCF/Mellon Fellows.

Cherrelle Denwiddie & Alysha Griffin reading Langston Hughes at the AALCI Institute, June 2010

Cherrelle Denwiddie (Fisk University) and Alysha Griffin (Spelman College), from our 2010 inaugural group of Fellows, were also UNCF/Mellon Fellows who had previously work\ed with Spence and Harper. Of course, if we want to go back much further, we might note that the homegirl Erica Edwards, who now runs a similar program at the University of California Riverside, and I were participants in the UNCF/Mellon Program when we were in undergrad.

AALCI 2013


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