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Support for Student Fellowships Spotlight

Amber Orozco `13

As a first-generation college student, Amber Orozco did not know what to expect when she came to Whittier College four years ago.

Today, Amber is not only preparing for graduation but is also making plans to attend graduate school thanks to her experience at Whittier and the support of her Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF). 

The MMUF program at Whittier College is part of a national program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which seeks to help diversify the professoriate by encouraging and supporting talented underrepresented students in their undergraduate and graduate education. The program provides funding for students to conduct summer and academic year research under the direction of a faculty mentor. As part of her fellowship, Amber conducted research with professor David Mbora aimed at understanding how habitat loss and fragmentation impact the abundance and diversity of dung beetles in the tropical forest patches in the Tana River forest in Kenya. Inspired by her experience, Amber has applied to graduate programs that will enable her to continue to research international environmental issues and explore environmental anthropology in different regions of the world.

Fellowship support is a powerful way to support and inspire students like Amber. The impacts of such a gift are often felt far beyond the initial student recipient. In Amber’s case, she ultimately hopes to become a professor and mentor future generations of talented students.

Check out Amber’s blog from her research travels here!

To learn more about how to make a difference to deserving Whittier students through fellowship support, please contact the Office of Advancement at 562.907.4219 or