Canadian-American Fellow Feature: Malcolm Nelson

University of Maine graduate student, Malcolm Nelson, is one of several recipients of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship for the 2022-23 academic year. 


The FLAS fellowship  is offered by the Canadian-American Center and the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS is a federal grant to support students who wish to improve proficiency in French or Maliseet, Mi’kmaq/Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Abenaki/Penobscot. Each academic year, the fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, tuition waiver, and 50% of University issued health insurance. The grant is available for undergraduate and graduate students at University of Maine who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.


Nelson first learned about the fellowship through the Anthropology and Environmental department at University of Maine. For any undergraduate students looking to earn similar fellowships or create connections with the center in the future, he recommends learning another language: “Learning another language is always super helpful and can lend a lot to your life. I would advise that you invest in learning one because it will take you places.”


Nelson’s current research focuses on sustainability, a field which has had his focus since undergraduate studies. “I did my thesis at a community garden in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I was a volunteer there for 3 years and performed anthropological fieldwork there as an undergrad. I learned from my thesis that community development, environmental justice, and supporting local food producers were three primary drivers behind the garden.” Nelson is now working to examine these three drivers in francophone communities, specifically in urban agricultural sites like community gardens, and to learn more about the francophone perspective on sustainability.


Outside of his research, Nelson enjoys Latin dancing, video games, and community gardening. After obtaining his Masters in Anthropology and Environmental Policy, Nelson hopes to pursue a PhD, as well as live and work in Canada.