One of the 2019 Pollart Scholarships for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities has been awarded to senior Aracely Mendoza.
“The scholarship is meant to highlight the work of students that are crossing boundaries and doing innovative things that show the way that arts and humanities will move forward,” said Todd Butler, director of the WSU Center for Arts and Humanities and associate dean of faculty for the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Aracely Mendoza was one of the people whose life had obviously been deeply affected by the Humanities,” said Matt Sutton, history department chair and an advisory board member for the center.
Mendoza is from East Wenatchee, but her family comes from Michoacán, Mexico. She will be graduating in May 2020 with a dual degree in anthropology and digital technology and culture, and a minor in fine arts,. Mendoza has been highly involved in the campus community since her freshman year.
In addition to holding a job at Student Financial Services, Mendoza is a part of several campus organizations: MEChA, Mujeres Unidas, Multicultural Student Mentor Program (MSMP), and the McNair Scholars program.
She currently serves as the secretary for the Movimiento Estudantil Chicanx de Aztlan (MEChA), which is an advocacy group for Latinx people on campus that helps students flourish and tackle issues of discrimination.
“This organization really helped build my knowledge on what the Latinx community is facing locally, nationally, and globally,” she said. She is also serving as a team leader for MEChA’s annual conference Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education (CASHE), where she will be supervising a group of high school students as they learn about higher education and the resources available to them.
With Mujeres Unidas, Mendoza served as the ChiLaStAl (Chicanx/Latinx Student Alliance) representative for her first year and as co-chair for the past two years. Mujeres Unidas discusses issues facing the Latinx community. The organization places specific emphasis on women’s issues.
She is also participating in the McNair Scholars Program for her second year. The program supports and prepares undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Mendoza’s on-campus activities are directly linked to her research on how the Latinx community in the United States are interacting with their cultural traditions. Being involved in the McNair program has enabled her to attend conferences across the nation to present her research.
Mendoza was recognized with the scholarship at the public launch of the Center for Arts and Humanities in September. At the event, Aracely chose to recognize faculty members Raymond Herrera, Anne Pisor, Carlos Salazar, and Ruth Gregory for their influence in her studies at WSU.
“I am deeply thankful to Ruth Gregory for the nomination and humbled for being awarded it,” said Mendoza. “It makes me feel better about what I’m doing in college knowing that there are people who see my struggles and successes.”
After graduation, Mendoza hopes to earn a PhD in sociology and continue working toward a career in social work or social advocacy for underrepresented communities.
Top image: Mendoza at the Center for Arts and Humanities launch event in Pullman.
By Ruth Gregory and Evie Caldwell for the Digital Technology and Culture program