McGillicuddy Humanities Center welcomes four new undergraduate fellows for fall 2022

This semester, the Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) welcomes four new undergraduate research fellows for the next two semesters: Bell Gellis Morais, Brenna Jones, Paige McHatten and Donald Patten. This new cohort will join current fellows Benjamin Allen, April Messier, Tom Pinette and Sherralyn Robbins, who are finalizing their research in fall 2022. MHC undergraduate fellows receive an award of $8,000 over the course of two semesters to pursue an independent research or creative project in the humanities in collaboration with a faculty member.

Incoming fellow Gellis Morais, a psychology, theatre and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies triple major from São Paulo, Brazil will work on a project that asks, “Is Our Perception of Transphobia Blurred When We Are Confronted With It in a Familiar Context?” Supervised by Rosalie Purvis, assistant professor of theatre and English, Gellis Morais is planning to both direct and conduct a psychological study about a production of the play “Blurred: A Modern Fairy Tale,” by Makena Metz, which uses the world of the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood to explore anti-trans-bias, as well as other prejudices and biases, to explore perceptions of transphobia across generations, gender, political affiliation and religion.

The MHC’s inaugural Peters FellowJones of Winterport, Maine is a mathematics major with a double minor in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and criminal justice. Jones’s project, “Understanding Socioeconomic Barriers of Precariously Housed People,” undertaken under the supervision of assistant professor of sociology Brian Pitman, will see her researching the constraints placed on precariously housed and unhoused people (such as wages, work hours, benefits, rental costs, and credit scores); Jones is interested in moving beyond thinking merely about counting and managing unhoused populations to consider the broader effects that cause the problem in the first place.

McHatten, an English and journalism double major and media studies minor from Mapleton, Maine is undertaking a creative writing project tentatively titled “Female Relationships and Representation.” Working with her adviser Hollie Adams, assistant professor in the Department of English, McHatten will conduct research into and compose a series of short stories that asks how media both contributes to and dismantles ideas of heteronormativity, with particular interest in how depictions of female friendships describe and shape reality.

The final member of the 2022 fellows cohort will be Patten, a senior majoring in studio art from Belfast, Maine will work on his project “Past Trauma in Modernity: Impressions of COVID-19.” Supervised by Samantha Jones, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Art, Patten — some of whose work will be on exhibition at the Rock & Art Shop in downtown Bangor in October — plans to explore how the body experiences trauma and how humor can be a coping mechanism by recreating the works of past masters of the visual arts adapted to contemporary life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to honing their research skills and building their academic networks, MHC Fellows serve as humanities ambassadors to their peers, the campus, and the broader community. For students interested in becoming a McGillicuddy Humanities Center undergraduate fellow, and faculty who might like to nominate a fellow, the next deadline to apply for a fellowship is Oct. 17, 2022. Research and creative work of all types across the humanities will be considered, from academic papers and art gallery shows, to community workshops or films. Applicants do not need to be humanities majors or minors to be eligible. More information, including application instructions, proposal guidelines and a rubric, is available at

For more information, contact MHC Humanities Specialist Brian Jansen at