UC Santa Cruz alumnus wins Mellon fellowship in humanistic studies

When David Jacobson starts his Ph.D. studies this fall, he'll be able to focus more on learning and less on worrying about tuition and expenses, thanks to his 2002 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.

The prestigious award, which supports exceptionally promising first-year doctoral students preparing for careers in humanities teaching and scholarship, will cover all tuition and required fees for the UC Santa Cruz alumnus in his initial year of graduate study, as well as providing a one-time stipend of $17,500.

"I used to think it was a cliché when people said 'It's an honor just to be nominated,'" said Jacobson. "But now I know it's true. I was thrilled to find out I was a semifinalist, and ecstatic when I won." This year's 95 Mellon Fellows were selected from 753 applicants.

Jacobson is the 17th UC Santa Cruz student to win a Mellon Fellowship, and the sixth winner from UCSC's classics program. A 2000 graduate with a double major in classics and history, Jacobson begins a doctoral program in classics at UC Berkeley this fall. His research interests are primarily Greek poetry, and he plans to teach at the university level after completing his degree.

Mellon Fellows from UCSC have gone on to teaching careers at a variety of institutions, including Rice University in Texas, Northwestern University in Illinois, and Morgan State University in Maryland.

"Without the Mellon Fellowship, I would have had to impose arbitrary limits on my research interests," said Heather James, a UCSC alumna and 1984 Mellon Fellow who is currently an associate professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Southern California. "I attribute my qualifications to carry out research in foreign languages to the time freed up by financial support from my Mellon Fellowship."

A 1989 Mellon Fellowship also helped UCSC alumnus Andrew Escobedo pursue further language study for his humanities research and teaching. Now an assistant professor teaching Renaissance literature at Ohio University, Escobedo said "The Mellon Fellowship paid for my enrollment in intensive language programs in French and ancient Greek, and it saved me a good deal of financial stress during the early years of graduate school."

For a complete list of the 2002 Mellon Fellowship award winners, go to http://www.woodrow.org/mellon/2002_winners.html.