Nelson Zounlome, a doctoral candidate in Counseling and Educational Psychology, is a recipient of the Wells Graduate Fellowship, one of the most prestigious fellowships given at IU.
“I felt very grateful to God for this amazing honor. I also felt thankful for the continuous support, encouragement, and letters of recommendation from Dr. Y. Joel Wong, Dr. Kerrie G. Wilkins-Yel, and Dr. Jack Schmit. I could not have accomplished this without them,” Zounlome said.
Zounlome is currently researching the impact of intersectional oppression on groups with marginalized identities. Within that framework, he studies mental wellness, academic persistence and sexual violence prevention to promote holistic healing among People of Color and Indigenous Peoples (POCI): “My dissertation uses a randomized control experimental design to examine the impact of a Black Encouragement Intervention, an intersectionally-informed multifaceted intervention in which Black university students read and write race-and-gender specific encouragement letters from/to their peers. This study aims to reduce students' psychological and racialized distress, as well as enhance their academic self-efficacy and pride in being a Black woman or man,” he said.
With the money from the fellowship, Zounlome will have more time to focus on finishing his dissertation and applying for faculty positions at research-intensive universities, as well as improving the lives of people from marginalized backgrounds through his research, mentoring and service work.
The Wells Graduate Fellowship is awarded students who demonstrate the qualities for which former IU Chancellor Herman B Wells was renowned: leadership abilities, academic excellence, character, social consciousness, and generosity of spirit.