Two graduate students win prestigious Mellon/ACLS dissertation fellowship

by Kyle Crocco, Writing Peer
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 4:17 PM

Two graduate students from UCSB have been awarded the prestigious Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) dissertation completion fellowships for the 2017-2018 academic year: Karen Hanna of Feminist Studies and Megan Lukaniec of Linguistics.

The Mellon/ACLS dissertation completion fellowship is a very competitive scholarship. ​Only 65 students from around the nation receive this award each year, thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. One of the winners, Karen Hanna, took some time to speak with ​the GradPost about her research, mentors, and future goals.

Karen Hanna


My research at UCSB traces the evolution of the Filipina/o American Radical Left, beginning with the exile of activists to North America during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the late 1960s​. I was originally drawn to this topic because I had volunteered as a community organizer alongside Filipina/o domestic workers and immigrant youth for several years prior to my Ph.D. program.


I chose UCSB because I wanted to work with Dr. Grace Chang and Dr. Diane Fujino. Dr. Chang had worked with the Damayan Migrant Workers Association, a group that organized low-wage workers and trafficking survivors, with whom ​I volunteered in New York City. Dr. Fujino was important for providing expertise in the Asian American and Black Power Movements, which would be key to helping me grow as a social movement scholar. The teaching and scholarship of the late Dr. Horacio Roque Ramirez has been formative in my work as well, and I am blessed to have taken a course with him.


After UCSB, I would like to continue teaching and conducting research that bridges community work "on the ground" with academia. Some of the best community organizers I know developed their political consciousness in college, and it would be an honor to be part of that process for future change-makers​.