2015 Summer Dean’s Fellows (L-R): Lian Liu, Emma Banks, Interim Dean Jody Combs, Sean King and Cecily Larison


Dean's Fellows


The Dean’s Fellowship program is designed to create in-depth learning experiences for students. The program is open to undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students who are interested in participating in strategic projects for the Jean and Alexander Heard Library over the course of a semester or two. With professional librarians as mentors, students work on tactical library projects that will benefit library users. Selected students learn new skills and complete projects that add to their expertise and resumes. Projects may involve work with rare print and digital collections enhancing accessibility, social media, exhibits and print resources. Through the Dean's Fellowship program, our libraries promote undergraduate and graduate research.

Program Benefits

  • Opportunity to add discrete project to resume and build contacts
  • Expand research skills
  • Applied learning opportunity
  • 20 hours per week*; flexible hours
  • Work with leading experts in the library field
  • Lunch with the Dean of Libraries

* Under special circumstances, exemptions may be granted to allow for fewer hours.

Application Process

To be considered for a Dean’s Fellow position, candidates must be in good academic standing and submit the following to the project mentor:

  • Cover letter addressed to the project contact
  • Curriculum vitae including name, address, email, and telephone
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member
  • Maximum of 350 words on what you hope to achieve in the project

Selected applicants will interview with the Dean of Libraries. Accepted students will receive a formal letter of acceptance.

For any additional information about the current positions, contact the project mentor.

For general information about the Dean’s Fellow program, contact Celia Walker.

Vanderbilt is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We particularly encourage applications from minorities and women.

The Dean's Fellows program is an important way in which our libraries foster student involvement and offer students opportunities to exchange ideas and learn new skills. If you would like to sponsor a Dean's Fellow, please contact Celia Walker.

Summer 2015 Fellowships

Emma Banks

Emma Banks is a PhD student in cultural anthropology. She conducts ethnographic research in La Guajira, Colombia, home to the world’s largest open pit coalmine. Her dissertation project focuses on the ways in which Colombian laws aimed at mitigating land and resource conflicts have led to new tensions between rural communities, natural resource extraction corporations, and state institutions as they debate how to distribute land and resource wealth. She hopes her research can contribute to improving Colombia’s post-conflict land redistribution policies to better meet the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. After graduating with a BA from Cornell University, she lived and worked in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for two years. Her research interests include corporations, natural resource extraction, spatial analysis, the state, violence, development, law, and conflict. She has an ongoing interest in how history and anthropology inform each other, believing that we must understand the past if we wish to comprehend the present.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: 19th Century Broadsides in the Helguera Colombian Collection


Sean King

Sean King is a senior in the Department of Biological Sciences honors program, with a major in molecular and cellular biology and a minor in chemistry. He is currently a member of the Rokas Lab where his research focuses on the genomics of secondary metabolism in microbial eukaryotes. His thesis describes interspecies horizontal gene transfer and variations in the acquisition, expression and maintenance of clustered genes that encode complex metabolic pathways involved in the production of antibiotic and toxic biomolecules. Following graduation, he plans on pursuing a PhD in the field of genomics.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Bioimages: a Semantic Web Resource


Cecily Larison

Cecily Larison is a rising senior in the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science. She is a participant in the history department's honors program, with a second major in English literature and a minor in philosophy. Cecily has the honor of being Vanderbilt University Theatre's president for the 2015/2016 school year, and has been involved in theatre throughout her life. She is also a member of SPEAR, Vanderbilt Feminists, and a past participant in Vanderbilt Alternative Spring Break. Along with completing her Dean's Fellow project, Cecily will be volunteering this summer at the Tennessee ACLU.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Interactive Research Tutorials in the Law library


Lian Liu

Lian Liu is pursuing a Master's degree in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University. He holds a B.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Southern Medical University, China. In 2013, he worked with two other students at the Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging, Southern Medical University, helping develop an automatic cell measuring plug-in for ImageJ.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Responsive Web Design for the Revised Common Lectionary Website


Spring 2015 Fellowships

Danielle Beaujon

Danielle Beaujon is a senior in the Vanderbilt History department’s highly selective Honors Program and plans to attend graduate school in History. She is the recipient of numerous awards during her time at Vanderbilt, including the Gertrude Casebier Undergraduate Research Grant (2014), and is a member of the Athenian Honors Society, Phi Alpha Theta History Major Honors Fraternity, Pi Delta Phi French Major Honors Society and other honorary organizations. Ms. Beaujon worked over the summer as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington DC. She speaks fluent French and, as a dancer, has successfully choreographed musicals for Vanderbilt Off-Broadway.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Wish You Were Here: Enrico Caruso Postcard Project


Molly S. Lasagna

Molly S. Lasagna is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Previously, Ms. Lasagna served as a Research and Policy Analyst for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), providing technical assistance for the Educator Quality Team. She is the co-author of Improving Teacher Quality: A Guide for Education Leaders. Prior to her work at AIR, she earned a Master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University, a Master’s in Teaching degree from the University of Virginia in Secondary English Education, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University. She is enrolled in the spring 2015 Vanderbilt class, The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor, where the author will be studied as a “literary theologian.”

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor: A Social Network Analysis


Gabriela Oré Menéndez

Gabriela Oré Menéndez is a Peruvian archaeologist with interests in pre-Hispanic imperialism in the Andean region, with a focus on provincial relations in the Inka Empire. She graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), where she earned her B.A. in Archaeology (2007) and her Masters degree in Archaeology with a mention in Andean Studies (2012). Oré taught Archaeological Survey for four years at the same university. More recently she has studied ceramic production using archaeometric methods and has been particularly interested in the development of production and exchange networks in the Inka Empire. She also has an ongoing interest in the development and application of new spatial technologies for archaeological research. Ms. Oré is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Map Digitization Project


Anjelica Saulsberry

Anjelica Saulsberry is a senior, graduating with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Child Development from Vanderbilt University. She has completed three summer fellowships with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the Mckinney-Freeman Laboratory aiding in research to further understand the maintenance and potentiation of Hematopoetic stem cells. She is currently a member of the Harrison Laboratory in the Vanderbilt Medical Center analyzing the role of diet in the relationship between metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's pathology. She is a recipient of the Creative Enterprise and Public Policy Scholarship and completed a summer internship with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless to learn first-hand how a non-profit healthcare organization is adapting to changes under the Affordable Care Act. She was Vanderbilt University's Student Ambassador at the 2014 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Symposium on Obesity Research in Atlanta, GA, and she is excited to attend medical school in the fall of 2015.



Fall 2014 Fellowships

Gretchen Selcke Zimmerman is a PhD candidate in Spanish at Vanderbilt University, completing her doctorate on “Isolation on and off the Island: The Politics of Displacement in Contemporary Spanish Caribbean Fiction.” She was the recipient of the E. Inman Fox Graduate Teaching Award, the Enhancing Graduate Education Grant (2009-2011) and was a graduate scholar summer fellow at the Center for the Americas at Vanderbilt. She graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Spanish and history. Ms. Zimmerman has served on the editorial board of the Afro-Hispanic Review since 2006 and edited a special issue honoring Zapata Olivella while she was serving as assistant editor on the journal.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Manuel Zapata Olivella Collections Correspondence

Fernanda Bretones Lane is a PhD candidate in history at Vanderbilt University and is engaged in research on Cuba and its connections with the greater Caribbean. She holds a master’s in social history from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, a master’s in Iberian history from the University Jaume I, Spain, and a B.A. in history from Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil. Ms. Bretones has worked in archives in Cuba, Spain and Brazil and received a Pre-Prospectus summer fellowship from the Cuban Heritage Collection. She is the recipient of a Vanderbilt Latin American Studies field research grant and two research grants from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Manuel Zapata Olivella Collections Correspondence

Nicolette M. Kostiw is a PhD candidate in Latin American history at Vanderbilt University. In 2012, she received the Ida B. Wells Dissertation Award from the Coordinating Council for Women in History and was also appointed a J. León Helguera Endowment Fellow. Previously, Ms. Kostiw was the recipient of UCLA’s James and Sylvia Thayer Research Fellowship, a Boren Dissertation Fellowship from the National Security Education Program, and a Binkley & Weaver Grant for Preliminary Dissertation Research. She holds a B.A. in history and Spanish as well as a M.A. in Spanish from West Virginia University.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Vanderbilt Libraries Collections Topics in Wikipedia

Xueqing (Ashley) Shan is a junior in the College of Arts and Science studying sociology and philosophy. She has been on the Dean’s List at Vanderbilt since her freshman year. During her time at Vanderbilt, Ms. Shan has worked on several faculty-guided research projects with topics including organizational studies literature, globalization of American education, and racial differences in Christian music. She interned at the New Economy Project in New York in the summer of 2014, working on financial justice and community development issues. Ms. Shan is a member of the Vanderbilt chapters of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society and a member of the Vanderbilt Lotus Eaters Sophomore Honor Society. She presented at the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Writing Symposium in the spring of 2014, and will be presenting findings of the racial differences in Christian music research at the Association of Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting in San Francisco in mid-August.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Prepare to Practice

Akailah Jenkins is a senior in the College of Arts and Science majoring in Sociology and American Studies with a minor in English. She is a recipient of the 2014-2015 Spouses Education Scholarship from the Congressional Black Caucus, a 2014 GPA Award recipient of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a Dean’s List Award recipient. She has been accepted as an early decision applicant with the Teach for American 2015 Corps and will be working in Baltimore, Maryland, after graduation. While at Vanderbilt University, Ms. Jenkins has worked as a research assistant with HALF (Helping At-Risk Students Learn Fractions) from 2011 to 2014, involving data collection at Nashville elementary and middle schools. She has also served as a research assistant for Betty’s Brain Study, which examines the effectiveness of guided skill practice in open-ended learning environments on student comprehension. Ms. Jenkins is the president of the Vanderbilt NAACP Chapter.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Recording History as It Happened: The Vanderbilt IMPACT Symposium

Corey Mackenzie Bowen is a senior majoring in Anthropology and Classics. Mr. Bowen spent eight months working with the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians as a research assistant for the USET-VU Native American Research Center for Health. In summer 2013, he served as crew chief and GIS specialist on the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológio Regional Ancash archeological operation in the Peruvian Andes. He worked at the same site this past summer, conducting independent research, and mapping and documenting architecture using photography, GPS, mobile GIS applications and computer illustrations. Mr. Bowen is in the Honors program in Anthropology and is a member of the Spirit of Gold Marching Band and Victory A Cappella.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Historical Tour of the University

2013-2014 Projects

M. Brielle Harbin is a fourth-year doctoral student in political science. Her dissertation examines how political leaders use narratives to engage citizens and their effect on citizens' political beliefs and behavior. Brielle holds an M.A. in political science from Brown University and a B.A. in government from Smith College. She is a recipient of a Provost Graduate Fellowship and is a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Scholar.

Brielle presented her project at the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Institute at Vanderbilt University; at the Center for Teaching's 2014 "Celebration of Learning;" and at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas, NV.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Vanderbilt Television News Archive: Online Exhibit of Presidential Speeches

WEBSITE: http://exhibits.library.vanderbilt.edu/Inauguration/

Kevin Patrick Milewski is a Vanderbilt junior, majoring in history with minors in French and English. A member of the Arts & Sciences College Scholars Honors program and the Phi Alpha Theta Historical Honor Society, Kevin recently participated in the Vanderbilt-in-France program in Aix. He was twice named a junior fellow at the Library of Congress, where he worked on the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection of book illustration.

Kevin presented his project at the international conference "Cultural Modernism II: Latin America" at Vanderbilt University; at the Center for Teaching's 2014 "Celebration of Learning;" and at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas, NV.

"My favorite part of the project, other than working in the Bandy Center, was designing the website. I think one of the most unique things about the Dean's Fellowship is the trust placed within students to produce something visual that will be linked to the Library's website. Considering digital humanities and the needs associated with presenting library materials to a large, public audience, [it] is an opportunity rarely afforded to undergraduates."

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Illustrated editions of Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) by Charles Baudelaire

WEBSITE: http://exhibits.library.vanderbilt.edu/Fleurs/#

Gloria Clemencia Perez is a first-year doctoral student in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, conducting work on how internally displaced groups bargain and navigate their environment in difficult times. For ten years, Gloria worked as a physician in the Colombian Andes, followed by research at the Immune Disease Institute at Harvard Medical School. A native Colombian, Gloria holds an M.A. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Toronto. She is the 2013 recipient of The Bob Shirley Prize in Anthropology and also the recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Fellowship, the most important award for social scientists in Canada.

Gloria presented her project at the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Institute at Vanderbilt University. Her project was the focus of a cover story for the Center for Latin American Studies newsletter in spring 2014 and a presentation at the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Materials in Salt Lake City, UT..

"My work with the collection has made me realize that in my academic work the historical analysis cannot be restricted to the 20th century and must reach back further, because the roots of the current Colombian problems are still traceable to key issues in the 19th century. While this may not greatly affect my career path, it significantly impacts how I view my academic project."

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Helguera Colombian Collection

WEBSITE: http://exhibits.library.vanderbilt.edu/colombia/essays.php?topic=introduction

Robert C.P. Steiner is a first-year candidate for Master of Education in human development counseling. He holds his J.D. from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in family financial planning & counseling and B.A. in history and political science, cum laude, from the University of Alabama. Robert is the recipient of the Peabody College Dean’s Tuition Scholarship and numerous past scholarships and awards.

Robert presented his project at the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Institute at Vanderbilt University.

"The project was tough and challenging at times but it was not too difficult. The project allowed me to integrate and synthesize a few of the different skills I've developed. It also allowed me to add a few more skills to my toolbox."

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Historical Tour of the University

WEBSITE: http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/historicaltour/

Fall 2013 Fellowships

Taylor Elyse Bryant is a junior, double majoring in human and organizational development and Spanish.  She is a Chancellor's Scholarship recipient, on the Dean's List, and a member of the Junior Athenian Honors Society.  Taylor has a background in web design and blogging, and contributes to magazines and websites as a writer and photographer.

Taylor presented her project at the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Institute at Vanderbilt University.

"I liked that I got full ownership of the project. I never knew how much I liked the process of researching a problem in many different ways (conversations, articles, focus groups) and combining the results to present a recommendation. Now I'm doing a very similar thing in my summer internship. I love it!"

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:: Vanderbilt Libraries Website Visual Communications

Yun Cha is a junior majoring in Sociology. A member of the Sociology Department Honors program, Yun is also a College Scholar and a member of Collegiate Leadership Vanderbilt. He has worked as a teaching assistant at the Gyeonggi Academy of Foreign Languages in South Korea and attended the International Summer Institute at Seoul National University.

Yun presented his project at the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Institute at Vanderbilt University.

"I must say I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the various meetings and events that Dean Dowell invited us to! "

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:: Vanderbilt Libraries Special Collections Topics in Wikipedia

REPORT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Nashville/Vanderbilt_Edit-A-Thon_2013

Spring 2012 Fellowship

In 2012, Emily Carlton Cook , a Vanderbilt senior, curated an interactive exhibition with photographs selected from the Jack Corn Collection at Vanderbilt University Special Collections. Mr. Corn worked for The Tennessean for 23 years, after which he worked as the director of photography for the Chicago Tribune from 1984 to 1991. His photograph was selected by Lady Bird Johnson to be part of the publicity for President Johnson’s War on Poverty. His collection of photographs of coal mining communities in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, taken from 1956 to 2003, convey the hardship, exploitation, and steadfastness of the communities during the 49-year period.