2019-2020 Scholars


Melissa Benbow

Melissa Benbow – ​Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Melissa Benbow worked full time as an academic adviser for TeenSHARP Delaware’s CAAT program, a college preparatory and leadership program for minority students with an interest in attending selective colleges. She has a passion for education as a means for mental, spiritual, and economic liberation, particularly for marginalized and underprivileged populations. Her academic interests are black women’s literature and museum studies, and she is currently pursuing a comparative study of how mid-twentieth century women of color used writing and visual art to project their vision of national/personal liberation.



Darbyshire Witek

Darbyshire Witek – ​ received her MA in English literature from Auburn University. She earned her B.A. in History and English literature from Georgia College & State University. Most recently, Darby worked with Teach for America as a literacy teacher in the Mississippi Delta. She was recognized as a Gilder-Lehrman History Scholar in 2015. Her research interests center expressions of identity and selfhood in African American literature. She is particularly interested in the ways memory, space, and language constitute and complicate ideas of boundaries and narrative form. Other, broader interests include the African American diaspora, identity performance, Southern gothic literature, and depictions of mixed race characters in American fiction.