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Janel Pineda '18 Awarded Prestigious New Americans Fellowship

Janel Pineda '18

Janel Pineda '18

Alumna taps power of words to heal, connect migrant families

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

For a quarter century, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans have helped launch the careers of game-changing U.S. immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States. This year, for the second time in a decade, this prestigious program names one of Dickinson’s own among its ranks.

As a 2023 recipient of the New Americans fellowship, Janel Pineda ‘18 will receive $90,000 to fund her pursuit of a Ph.D. at UCLA. Pineda is one of only 30 recipients selected among more than 2,000 applicants nationwide.

“We are thrilled to welcome Janel Pineda to the Fellowship,” said Craig Harwood, director of the fellowship program, founded by Hungarian immigrants. “Immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees have and continue to make our nation stronger.”

Early achievements

The second Dickinson graduate to receive the award, following Giovania Tiarachristie ’13, Pineda is a first-generation college graduate and the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants who fled to Los Angeles at the onset of the Salvadoran Civil War. As a Dickinson English major and Posse Scholar, she co-founded the college’s Latina Discussion Group and earned funding, through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, to spend her junior year abroad as a Dickinson Oxford scholar.

Since her graduation, she’s remained in close touch with Dickinson’s English faculty and Advising, Internships & Career Center. With funding through the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, Pineda returned to the U.K. to earn an M.A. in creative writing at the University of London and an M.Phil. in Latin American studies from the University of Cambridge. She is the author of a 2021 book of poetry, Lineage of Rain  (Haymarket Books), and a member of the Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador. Pineda also serves on the founding editorial team of the multilingual literary magazine La Piscucha.

Healing and solidarity

As a New American Fellow, Pineda joins a high-flying network that includes the first U.S. surgeon general of Indian descent, the U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra, the first Black U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York and a composer named among National Public Radio’s “Top Composers of the World.”

Pineda’s aspiration is to become a professor and lead an interdisciplinary academic and arts center dedicated to preserving migrant stories that help generations of migrant families connect with their heritages and with each other. She’s grateful for the support that the New Americans Fellowship provides as she continues her graduate work in in Chicana/o and Central American studies, with a focus on contemporary diasporic Central American literature and the healing capabilities of poetry.

"I am thrilled to join the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship community and to continue to imagine and help build liberatory futures for migrant and diasporic communities," she says. "And as I look back on my Dickinson education, I am so grateful to have begun my studies under the mentorship of professors across the humanities who have continually supported my journey as a thinker, lifelong learner and scholar. I am also deeply grateful for the continual support and encouragement that [Associate Provost for Experiential Learning & Fellowships] Amity Fox has so generously provided, even years after my departure from Dickinson."


Published April 25, 2023