College Fund Selects Four Andrew Mellow Fellows

Feb 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 19-3: Beyond Our Names: Uncovering Identity, Tribal College News

The American Indian College Fund has selected four recipients for its prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship Program for 2007-08. Sharon Fredericks, Terry Gomez, Mathew Martinez, and Joni Murphy will each receive a $30,000 fellowship geared to assist tribal college faculty members who are in the final stages of completing a terminal degree.

Through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the fund launched the program in 2004. The program was created to increase the number of faculty who possess a terminal degree at the nation’s tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). It is designed to provide each fellow with financial assistance to complete the dissertation writing process free of financial and professional demands.

Sharon Fredericks (Menominee), is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at Capella University. Since 2001, Fredericks has taught at the College of Menominee Nation (CMN, Keshena, WI) Department of Early Childhood Education.

Frederick’s dissertation suggests a discrepancy between the number of minority students and minority faculty in higher education. She notes that even institutions that cater to certain ethnic groups are struggling to find faculty representative of their student body. Her research will describe the experiences of non-Native tribal college faculty members as they work to understand and embrace American Indian culture. Her research also will provide methods to develop effective tools to support non-Native faculty at TCUs.

Terry Gomez (Comanche Nation) is a Master of Fine Arts student in the Department of Dramatic Writing at the University of New Mexico. Since 2004, Gomez has been a faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA, Santa Fe, NM), teaching courses in dramatic writing, acting, and play production. She is also an IAIA alumna.

Gomez’s thesis is a collection of three plays focusing on the history of how Native American women are negatively depicted in theater and film. She describes how this contributes to an invisibility of Native woman in society, low self-esteem, and a re-identification of self, especially in the case of younger people. She will develop the plays into full productions.

Matthew Martinez (Ohkay Owingeh/San Juan Pueblo) is a Ph.D. student in the American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota. He also serves as a faculty member in the Indigenous Liberal Arts Department at IAIA.

Martinez’s dissertation examines the fields of photography, tourism, and Pueblo historiography. His research details how tourism helps construct indigenous identities and representations. He explores how tourism has changed since the 1980s as the northern Pueblo tribes exerted greater participation and control in the industry, producing and circulating photographic images that better represent themselves and their communities.

Joni Murphy (Muscogee) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Kansas. She has served as a faculty member in the English Department at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU, Lawrence, KS) for 5 years and is a HINU alumna.

Murphy’s dissertation will explore Native American culture, history, philosophy, and identity as reflected in the work of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Quick-to-See Smith is a Salish painter/printmaker who exhibits her work, curates Native exhibitions, and lectures internationally, and burst onto the international art scene in the late 1970s.

Murphy’s research demonstrates how Quick-to-See-Smith’s art has developed the modern Native American art context by using symbolic motifs that give spiritual depth to contemporary paintings and drawings. Murphy’s study will be the first comprehensive monographic study of Quick-to-See Smith.

The fund has also released a new 5-minute documentary video describing how the fund improves the lives of American Indian college students attending tribal colleges and universities. It can be seen on the fund’s web site at

A team attended tribal college graduation ceremonies to record students, elders, tribal college presidents, and community members as they described the miracles produced by tribal colleges’ cultural-based education.

With its credo “Educating the Mind and Spirit,” the Denver-based American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships for American Indian students, providing more than 6,000 scholarships annually for students seeking to better their lives and communities through education at the nation’s accredited tribal colleges and universities.

For more information about the American Indian College Fund or to make a donation, visit To request copies of the video, contact Dina Horwedel, (303) 426-8900, or email

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