Psychology Major Khalid Hassan Awarded Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Photo of Khalid Hassan
Photo of Khalid Hassan

The Duke University Department of Psychology and Neuroscience would like to congratulate junior Khalid Hassan (Psychology BS major, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies & Chemistry minors) on being accepted into the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program puts a large emphasis on investigating the cultural and historical components of our society. “I already had an interest in medicine and health, and I wanted to understand why the medical world is the way that it is, and the MMUF seemed like a good opportunity to explore the humanities behind the structural issues and inequities in the medical world,” Hassan said.

Hassan is investigating if medical malpractice and inequity across racial lines occur in predominately Black countries based on the cultural definition of Blackness. “Black patients are underserved and misdiagnosed because of the cultural definition of Blackness in the United States, compared to the cultural context of Blackness and non-Blackness in other places,” Hassan said. Hassan’s research will be focusing specifically on Sudan in North Africa, looking at Afro-Arabs, and how whiteness and blackness are defined along different lines to see if a trend exists.

Hassan selected Ellen McLarney, the Director of the Duke Middle East Studies Center, to be his mentor. “This was a no brainer for me, since she has experience working with other Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, and my research is aligned with her own interests and specialties. She will be able to recommend anti-Black literature, as well as historical contexts, and introduce me into spaces with people who are knowledgeable on the topic,” Hassan said.

When asked about his future, post-graduation plans, Hassan explained that the skills he has and will continue to obtain will lend themselves to different professions. “My initial goal when I came to Duke was to go to medical school. I am still interested in health care policy, but my education at Duke has provided me with knowledge of my interests in the long term, and my Asian and Middle Eastern Studies minor coupled with my Psychology major have really helped underscore my passion for researching topics related to humanities and psychology,” Hassan said. This fellowship will give Hassan the opportunity to explore these newfound passions further, and he hopes to either become a professional researcher within Psychology, or dive deeper into Asian and Middle Eastern studies.

For more information on the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Duke University, please click here: