Melissa Valle
Toggle caption Photo by Theo Anderson

Melissa Valle Wins Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Aimed at Eradicating Racial Disparities in the Arts and Humanities

Melissa Valle has won a Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The six-month fellowship comes with a sabbatical stipend, a research, travel, or publication stipend; mentoring; and participation in a professional development retreat.

Valle is one of 32 fellows chosen from among a national pool of applicants. The Career Enhancement Fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, seeks to increase the presence of underrepresented junior and other faculty members in the arts and humanities by creating career development opportunities for selected Fellows with promising research projects.

Melissa Valle in Cartagena
 Melissa Valle (left) enjoys the neighborhood independence week festivities in Getsemaní in Cartagena in Nov. 2013. Photo courtesy Melissa Valle

Valle, who is an assistant professor at the School of Arts and Sciences-Newark in the departments of Sociology and Anthropology as well as the department of African American and African Studies, is an urban sociologist who studies the relationships between race and ethnicity, urban space, and culture, with a particular focus on the Afrolatinidad in the Americas. She is also a core faculty member of the Global Urban Studies/Urban Systems Ph.D. program.

Valle holds a Ph.D., Master of Philosophy, and Master of Arts in Sociology from Columbia University, a Master of Science for Teachers from Pace University, and an M.P.A. from New York University; as well as dual bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Afro-American Studies from Howard University.

Valle said she would spend the fellowship period writing her first book manuscript about race, worth and urban change in Cartagena, Colombia. She describes the book as “an ethnography exploring how people determine who is worthy of occupying contested space in a gentrifying neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia.” Valle had previously travelled to Cartagena on a Fulbright fellowship to conduct ethnographic fieldwork there.

Christopher Duncan, chair of the department of Sociology and Anthropology called Valle’s forthcoming book a sociologically innovative and incisive examination of race and gentrification and said, “the department is thrilled that Dr. Valle was awarded this prestigious and well-deserved fellowship. It will provide her with some time to finish her much anticipated book."

“While I'll miss working with students so much next year, I'm also really excited to have the opportunity to go all-in and devote my time fully to this project," said Valle.