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Tuskegee University junior awarded UNCF’s Mellon Mays humanities fellowship

May 07, 2020

Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Nina Hylton

Nina Hylton, a Tuskegee University junior majoring in political science, has been awarded the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), which begins this summer and focuses on the humanities and on diversifying the faculty ranks in higher education.

Hylton, a native of Mount Vernon, New York, will carry out research through the fellowship that explores the politics of art conservation and cultural heritage preservation influence — and how these fields influence representation of black culture in the museum space.

“The lack of African-American art conservators in the United States has had a negative effect on the representation of black culture in the museum space, and the marginalization of its culture in the U.S. at large,” explained Hylton. “During the fellowship, I hope to demonstrate the critical role that museums play in shaping the narratives surrounding black history and the responsibility that African-American institutions must take in addressing this marginalization.”

Dr. Jontyle Robinson, curator of the university’s Legacy Museum, noted that through the fellowship, Hylton will be connected to a wide variety of programs that will assist in her development as a scholar. She will join a network of MMUF recipients representing colleges and universities throughout the country.

“This fellowship opportunity with UNCF Mellon will use its considerable cachet to forge paths forward for Nina, with its powerful partnerships,” said Robinson, who will serve as Hylton’s mentor throughout her fellowship experience. “The programming is designed to assist her through graduate school, obtaining a doctoral degree, her tenure and beyond.”

The fellowship funded by the UNCF/Mellon Programs will provide Hylton with financial support beginning with her senior year at Tuskegee, a summer stipend, annual travel stipends, and funding to support her research activities and GRE graduate school applications preparation.

Hylton will serve as the Student Government Association’s judicial advisor for the 2020-21 school year in addition to her other campus involvement that includes serving as president of the Bioethics Honors Program. She is a member of Tuskegee’s softball team, the President’s Men and Women Leadership Program, the Title IX Student Committee, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honors society).

Directed by Dr. Cynthia Spence and headquartered at Spelman College in Atlanta, the mission of the UNCF/Mellon Programs is to aid in the transformation of the Academy through the presence of a racially and ethnically diverse faculty whose scholarship and teaching represent diverse world views, appreciation for issues of social justice and who share a commitment to continuing to develop a pipeline of scholars of color to inhabit the halls of the Academy as students and faculty.

For more information on UNCF/Mellon Programs, visit

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