Delta Fellow

Mississippi Delta Fellow

The Mississippi Delta Fellowship is jointly funded by Harvard Law School, through the support of the Winokur Family Foundation, and the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State. As director of the Delta Directions Consortium, the Delta Fellow works with community-based organizations, academic institutions and foundations to create transformational change in the Mississippi Delta region by improving public health and promoting economic development. Along with clinical faculty in the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, the Fellow also supervises the Mississippi Delta Project, a student public service organization at Harvard Law School that works on issues relating to the Delta throughout the year. The Fellow’s principal responsibilities are to:

  • Coordinate among Delta Directions Consortium members and with other institutions;
  • Leverage financial resources, technical assistance, and human capital to improve economic status, health, and educational outcome in the Delta;
  • Foster collaboration among Harvard schools working in the Delta; and
  • Manage and develop projects based on local needs and resources.

 The Current Fellow

Susana Cervantes began her tenure as the current Mississippi Delta Fellow in September 2017. Raised in Los Angeles and educated in the Northeast, Susana’s first introduction to the South came after college when she joined Teach for America and spent two years teaching high school English in Jackson, Mississippi.

Those two short years had a big impact on her life: she was touched by the hospitality and kindness of her colleagues, the energy and wit of her students, and the beauty of Mississippi’s rural and natural landscapes. At the same time, her experience in the classroom deepened her interest in and broadened her perspective on wealth inequality, systemic racism, and the achievement gap in the United States.

In 2014, Susana left Mississippi to begin law school, with an eye towards tackling these difficult issues through law and policy. At Harvard Law, she continued to stay engaged in Mississippi as a student leader in the Mississippi Delta Project, and participated in a number of clinics and internships focused on K-12 education, youth and family issues, and employment rights. Now as the Delta Fellow, Susana is honored to be able to work with Delta Directions and its community partners towards policy solutions that will help alleviate poverty, improve health outcomes, increase access to opportunity, and empower communities in the Mississippi Delta.

Susana received her A.B. in English from Harvard College in 2012 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2017.

Susana can be reached at susana.cervantes@ssrc.msstate.edu

Past Fellows

Desta Reff, 2013-2017
Nathan Rosenberg, 2012 – 2013
Alexis Chernak, 2010 – 2011
Emily Broad Leib, 2008 – 2010