Cornell University Press

We’re Looking for the Next Mellon Diversity Fellow!

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Cornell University Press is proud to be a participant in the Andrew W. Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program which was developed in 2016 to help bring more diversity into academic publishing. The Fellowship Program actively works to address diversity issues by providing underrepresented individuals an opportunity to have real work experience in scholarly publishing and a network of peers and mentors to assist them in their professional development.

Today we are very excited to announce that the new Mellon Diversity fellowship position at the Press is now officially open for applications. This fourteen-month position is within the Cornell University Press acquisitions department where the Mellon Diversity Fellow will provide support to one or more Acquisitions Editors in acquiring scholarly books. The application deadline is midnight of March 14th, 2021, and the position begins June 1st.

Here’s the testimony of Allegra Martschenko, current Mellon Diversity Fellow at Cornell University Press, sharing her experience:

When I came across the posting for the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship (MUPDF) in early 2020 I wasn’t quite sure what field I wanted to enter. It was the spring of my senior year in college, and I was getting an architecture degree while working part-time in the sales department of an on-campus press. I’d always thought that if I ended up in publishing I would end up in children’s trade, working to bring marginalized voices and representation to children at a formative age. Then this listing for the fellowship caught my eye, both for the time limit and the focus on diversifying academic publishing. I applied, thinking that if I didn’t like the field I would have an easy out after fourteen months, and if I did I would be in an incredibly strong position to keep moving forward doing the work in academic publishing that I thought I might do in children’s trade while keeping potential proximity to architecture.

I’d always thought that if I ended up in publishing I would end up in children’s trade, working to bring marginalized voices and representation to children at a formative age.

In June of 2020, I settled into Cornell in a remote, COVID world and time slipped away quickly. It was suddenly October, it was suddenly December, it’s suddenly February. MUPDF has allowed me to occupy a full-time position in academic publishing with mentoring built into the format. Not only do I get to fully immerse myself in the position of Acquisitions Assistant for 14 months, but I also participate in information sessions with the other fellows and their mentors, learning about my own role and how it might differ across presses. Upon going into this fellowship I knew that I wanted more time to try things out, and not just via routine intern tasks but through the demands of a full-time job. The fellowship was perfect, not just for getting my foot in the door, but for its express purpose: to foster the talents and viewpoints of marginalized groups. For example, I was granted the opportunity to revise Cornell’s peer review guidelines to reflect the press’s commitment to diverse voices.

MUPDF has allowed me to occupy a full-time position in academic publishing with mentoring built into the format.

I’ve learned about other departments and what they do and I’ve experienced a variety of specific tasks: processing honorariums, talking to authors, managing image programs, and more. I’ve learned about how to evaluate a press’ list, how to conduct yourself among your colleagues, and how to formulate a career plan. What I found most useful, though, was the community. I had past fellows to draw on for information, and current fellows to draw on for support. Alone as a person of color publishing can be daunting, opaque, and generally difficult to navigate, but together we could share knowledge, tips, and inspirations.

What I found most useful, though, was the community.

I’m sure soon enough I’ll blink and it will be May, blink and it will be August. Under the mentorship of my editors I’ll get the chance to keep trying new things, and the support necessary to bring my unique viewpoints to the table. I’ll even get the opportunity to meet the next Cornell fellow and help them in any way I can, further expanding my community. At the end I’ll be in that strong position to take the next step, keep my proximity to academia, and maybe even move closer to acquiring in art, architecture, and urban studies.

*Featured photo: Colorful crayon pencils. Credit: Sharon McCutcheon.


Allegra Martschenko joined Cornell University Press in June 2020 as an acquisitions assistant and Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Architecture with minors in Urban Studies and Creative Writing, so she’s always looking at the way space shapes people and stories. In her free time, she reads speculative fiction, writes novels, and builds architectural models (just for fun).

Allegra Martschenko.

Click here to apply!

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