News & Ideas

Student Spotlight: Mellen Masea ’26

Mellen Masea smiles at the camera
Courtesy of Mellen Masea

Mellen Masea, a second-year student at Harvard College studying economics with a secondary field in global health and health policy, has already participated in three different programs at Radcliffe. She was previously a research assistant at Crimson Summer Academy (part of the Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery initiative) and is now both an Emerging Leaders Program mentor and a Radcliffe Research Partner (RRP) with 2023–2024 Radcliffe-Salata Climate Justice Fellow Jennie C. Stephens.

“My interests lie at the intersection between global health and sustainability,” she says. “But the aspect of sustainability is not very explicit in what I study. So, Radcliffe allows me to explore my academic interests outside of the classroom.”

As an ELP mentor, Masea works with two high school sophomores from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School on a social change project about advancing mental health resources for immigrants and other underrepresented communities.

As an RRP, Masea contributed to Stephens’s book Climate Justice and the University: Shaping a Hopeful Future for All (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming). The book is about reimagining the role of universities worldwide, so “my contributions as an international student from Kenya were invaluable,” Masea says. “I bring an international perspective to the project.”

Currently, she is working with Stephens on a paper on unlearning and decolonization of systems in higher ed.

“Radcliffe provides a unique space to have challenging conversations on the world’s most pressing issues,” Masea says. And it’s “a space where I collaborate with like-minded individuals and contribute actively toward social change while receiving mentorship.”

Sam Zuniga-Levy is a writer at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

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