Photo of two UCI graduate students who received AAUW fellowships.
Zayda Sorrell-Medina (left), School of Social Ecology, and Allison Dziuba (right), School of Humanities, both received AAUW fellowships for $20,000 for the academic year 2021-22. Dziuba described her reaction to the award as, “Thrilled!” Sorrell-Medina said she “was elated and couldn’t believe my eyes.” Steve Zylius / UCI

The American Association of University Women awarded $20,000 each to UCI graduate students Allison Dziuba and Zayda Sorrell-Medina for the 2021-22 academic year. Both Dziuba and Sorrell-Medina were awarded an American Fellowship, which allows the Ph.D. candidates to concentrate their full energy and effort toward the progress of their degrees.

Dziuba is a Ph.D. candidate in English, specializing in rhetoric and composition. She has also completed the Graduate Feminist Emphasis, a program available to all graduate students that provides them an opportunity to become part of a network of feminist scholars at UCI and beyond. Dziuba is examining “how college students learn to communicate – write, speak, perform – so as to participate in their communities.” She recently adapted a chapter of her dissertation for publication and plans to file her dissertation in the spring.

Sorrell-Medina is pursuing her Ph.D. in urban planning & public policy. Her research seeks to measure the impact of the U.S. immigrant-serving nonprofit sector. Her “deep, abiding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion” propelled her to choose a dissertation topic focusing on those elements. The fellowship will support the final phase of her dissertation studies in which she is implementing a national survey of immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to gauge how they affect creating inclusionary cities. She plans to complete her dissertation by Aug 1, 2022.

Since 1888, the AAUW has fervently supported graduate women’s education, awarding more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 women from 150 countries. That total includes an unprecedented $5 million awarded to 260 scholars in 2021-2022.

“We’re proud to support the work of these outstanding scholars,” said Gloria Blackwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Programs Officer. “This year’s recipients are making valuable contributions in a wide range of fields, but with a common goal of improving life for all of us.”

About the UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The schools of humanities and social ecology play a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting: