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 is a doctoral student in the English department at the University of Delaware. Her research interests include the curation of racialized identities, public memory, commemorative history, and national futurities in nineteenth century literary and material culture. Most recently, Darby has been investigating literary productions of racial knowledge and how they simultaneously inform and are informed by American society at large. Darby is also pursuing a certificate in Museum Studies, where her interests in archival and bibliographic methodologies guide an interdisciplinary academic practice. Darby has a Master’s in English literature from Auburn University and a Bachelor’s in English literature and History with a minor in Spanish from Georgia College, where she was nationally recognized as a Gilder-Lehrman History Scholar. Darby has worked with projects such as the Colored Conventions Project and 18th Century Connect, where she’s focused on methodologies of digital and collaborative scholarship. Outside of academic life, Darby enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring with her dog, Fitz.