Esteniolla Maitre, Bryn Mawr College

Featured Scholar

Fall 2013

Bryn Mawr College junior Esteniolla Maitre began crusading for education reform as a high school student from Mattapan, Massachusetts. Now, with the support of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), she is preparing to be an influential leader in the education field.

MMUF identifies and supports promising Ph.D.-track students from underrepresented backgrounds. MMUF Fellows receive faculty mentoring, research stipends and structured programming to ensure they will be successful in their pursuit of graduate and doctoral degrees.

“In high school, I addressed injustices through petitioning, rallying, policy-making and testifying,” says Esteniolla, a first-generation college student whose parents emigrated from Haiti. “With MMUF, I have the opportunity to research, to think critically, and to educate myself so that I can better educate others.”

An English major with minors in Africana studies and education, Esteniolla has focused her fellowship research on investigating the relationship between English, as a discipline and a language, and the socioeconomic identities of public school students.

“I want to explore how public education can use English as a way to acknowledge, educate and explore diverse backgrounds in the classroom,” says Esteniolla.

On campus, Esteniolla is committed to supporting diversity, inclusion and understanding. A founding member of Bryn Mawr’s NAACP chapter, she received the college’s Thomas Prize in Diversity in recognition of her leadership on diversity initiatives. She established a student support group and leads her peers in regular conversations about racism, sexism, classism and other issues. In addition, she is a student consultant for the Teaching and Learning Initiative, which pairs students with professors to provide curriculum and classroom feedback.

“I am so grateful to be in a college where the relationships you build are just as important as what you learn in the classroom,” says Esteniolla.