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Christina
Social Sciences
E212
Mello
Associate Professor of Applied Cultural Anthropology
808-689-2494

Dr. Christy Mello is an applied cultural anthropologist. She completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Through an applied and community engaged research approach, interests include community health and wellbeing, local food production, environmental justice, social entrepreneurship, preservation and conservation of heritage sites, and sustainable tourism. Research is grounded in political ecology theory as well as Indigenous epistemology. Most recent research projects have been in partnership with community organizations located on O‘ahu’s Leeward Coast.

Ph.D. Anthropology                                   
University of New Mexico, 2013

M.A. Anthropology
University of New Mexico, 2007          

B.A. Anthropology                                                                            
Grand Valley State University, 2005

University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu, Kapolei, HI

  • Associate Professor of Applied Cultural Anthropology, Social Sciences Division, 2020-Present
  • Assistant Professor of Applied Cultural Anthropology, Social Sciences Division, 2015-2020

University of Hawai‘i Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

  • Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, 2021-2022

University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, 2014-2015

Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, 2012-2014                                                  

  • Adjunct Professor, Anthropology Department                                  

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 2011-2012                                     

  • Part-Time Teaching Instructor (PTTI), Anthropology Department  

Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, Fall 2010                                                     

  • Adjunct Professor, Anthropology Department                      

Muskegon Community College, Muskegon, MI, Fall 2010    

  • Adjunct Professor, Social Sciences Department       

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ACADEMIA

Kamoauli, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, January 2017-present

  • Co-Owner

Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids, MI, June 2012-2016

  • Consultant                                                                                                      

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market, Grand Rapids, MI, June 2010-October 2010

  • Manager                                              

North End Environmental Collaboration, Detroit, MI, March 2010-December 2010

  • Evaluator                                                                                                                               

Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, Grand Rapids, MI, June 2009-August 2009

  • Assistant

Center of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Albuquerque, NM, Summer 2005-Summer 2007 

  • Research Assistant

ALERT (Alcohol, Education, Research and Training) Labs, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, July 2004-July 2005

  • Administrative Office and Activities Coordinator

Hope Network Behavioral Health Services, Grand Rapids, MI, January 1999-August 2002

  • Case-aid and Day Programmer
  • Museum Studies
  • Heritage Tourism
  • Senior Practicum and Projects
  • Land, Culture, and Social Justice
  • Applied Anthropology
  • History and Theory in Anthropology
  • Culture and Humanity
  • Museum Exhibits and Visual Methods
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Fieldwork and Qualitative Methods
  • Visual Depictions of the Human Experience and Media Power
  • Sustainability in Tourism
  • Anthropology of Science Fiction

PUBLICATIONS

Mello, Christy, In Progress, Growing Community Wellbeing in Hawai‘i through Social Entrepreneurship

Mello, Christy, In Progress, Engaged Research and Pedagogy in Times of Crisis: Co-Developing Online Museum Exhibits with Students

Mello, Christy, Saleh Azizi, and Shea-Lah Kama. 2020. Spatial and Relational Representations of Economic Wellbeing and the Kahumana Farm Hub: Wai‘anae, Hawai‘i. Human Organization 79(1): 57-68.

Azizi, Saleh and Christy Mello. 2020. The Role of Regional Food Hubs in Indigenous Communities: Wai‘anae Food Hub at Kahumana Organic Farms. Journal of Indigenous Social Development. 9(2): 24-59.

Mello, Christy. 2019. Editor and Contributor. ‘Imi Na‘auao: Hawaiian Knowing and Wellbeing. University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu.

Mello, Christy. 2018. Engagement as Scholarship: Food Justice in Practice. Annals of Practicing Anthropology 42(1): 39-52.

Mello, Christy. 2018. Food Insecurity in Southeast Grand Rapids, MI: How Our Kitchen Table is Building Food Justice in the Face of Profiteering and Exclusionary Practices. Chapter in Edited Volume, Food and Poverty: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty among America’s Poor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Mello, Christina, Lisa Oliver-King, and Inez Adams. 2017. Growing Food, Growing Consciousness: Gardening and Social Justice in Southeast Grand Rapids. Culture, Agriculture, Food, and Environment 39(20): 143-147.

Mello, Christy. Aloha ʻĀina: Homelessness, Learning Communities, and Social Justice. 2017. Practicing Anthropology 39(4): 31-35.

Mello, Christina. 2014. Food Sovereignty and Activism: Our Kitchen Table’s Food Diversity Project in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan. Anthropology News 55 (9-10), 18-20.

Mello, Christina. 2004. Gender and Empowerment: Contemporary Women of Rosebud. McNair Scholar's Journal 8, 35-51.

ONLINE MUSEUM EXHIBIT WEBSITES

Honouliuli 'Āina Ho'ohuli, Co-Created with UH West O‘ahu Students, 2021

https://www.uhwestoahuonlineexhibitshonouliuli.com

WWI: The Peoples’ Persistence, Co-Created with UH West O‘ahu Students, 2020

https://www.uhwestoahuonlineexhibits.com

VIDEOS

“UH West O‘ahu and ONNO Round Dance,” Short video of Native American Round Dance at UH West Oahu March 12th 2022

“Kamoauli Community Launch,” Short video of Kamoauli’s community launch in Wai‘anae, HI, March 17th 2018

“Local Food and Gentrification: A Booming Industry,” Screening at U.S. Social Forum, Detroit, MI, June 2010  

Filmed a video section that provided a behind-the-scenes view of an exhibit planned for 2009, Maxwell Museum, Albuquerque, NM, Fall 2007

“There’s No Love: Overcoming Barriers to Homelessness and Health Care,” a collaboration with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Albuquerque, NM, Spring 2007

RESEARCH

Over the last seven years, engaged scholarship projects, those led by community, have consisted of those involving farms on the Leeward Coast, heritage site preservation/conservation in the ahupua'a of Honouliuli, and Pu'uhonua 'O Wai'anae.

CONTRACTED COMMUNITY ORGANIZED RESEARCH

Co-Investigator with Hawaii Integrated Analytics (HIʻA), MAʻO Organic Farms Alumni Evaluation Project, contracted by MA‘O Organic Farms, March 2020-March 2021

FORENSIC/ARCHAEOLOGY FIELDWORK

Coordinator of project on Moloka‘i to identify unmarked burials at two cemetery locations. Partners include personnel/faculty from UH JABSOM, Department of Defense, and Chaminade University of Honolulu. October 2021 to present

GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS

Honouliuli/University of Hawaii West Oahu, PI, National Park Service, ($69,758), 2020-2022

Community Led Moloka‘i Burial Project, UH SEED IDEAS, ($5,000), Spring 2022

Community Led Moloka‘i Burial Project, UH West Oahu IRES, ($2,500), Spring 2022

ONNO Native American Round Dance, UH West Oahu, ($2,000), Spring 2022

ONNO Native American Round Dance, UH SEED IDEAS, ($2,000), Fall 2021

Imi Na‘auao/UH West Oahu, PI, Kamehameha Schools, ($252,273), 2017-2019

IES Seed Grant/University of Hawaii West Oahu ($2,500), 2017

Distinguished Visiting Scholar Fund (for guest), University of Hawaii West Oahu ($2,500), 2016

BRC, University of Hawaii West Oahu 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 ($8,600)

Anthropology Graduate Student Travel Allocation, University of New Mexico ($350), 2013            

Ortiz Public Policy Fellowship, University of New Mexico ($10,000), 2011-2012                                

3% Tuition Award, University of New Mexico ($3,600), 2010-2011                            

RPT Award, University of New Mexico ($750), 2010                                                  

Dissertation Field Site Development Grant (Summer), University of New Mexico ($500), 2008

Ethnology Fellowship, University of New Mexico ($8,000), 2007-2008      

 

“Local Food and Power Dynamics in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

CONFERENCE PAPERS

“Adapting to Crisis and Reimagining Pedagogy through Visual Depictions of Changing Landscapes: Honouliuli 'Āina Ho’ohuli,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Salt Lak City, Utah, March 2022

“Growing Community Wellbeing in Wai‘anae, HI: MA‘O Organic Farms,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Norfolk, Virginia, March 2021

“‘Imi Na‘auao: A Collaborative Food Sovereignty Project,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Portland, Oregon, March 2019

“Kahumana Farm Hub: A Community Resource,” with Saleh Azizi, ‘Aha ‘Imi Na‘auao, University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu, Kapolei, Hawaii, February 2019

“From Food Insecurity to Food Sovereignty: Collaborative Applied Research and Engaged Scholarship Mapping Project,” with Monique Mironesco and Michael Wahl, University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu, Kapolei, Hawai‘i, February 2019

“ ‘Imi Na'auao: An Example of Community Engaged Scholarship,” with Camonia Gram-Tutt, Lorinda Riley, and Thomas Scheiding, Engaged Scholarship Consortium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2018

“From Food Insecurity to Food Sovereignty: Goals for a Community Driven Applied Research Approach” with Monique Mironesco and Michael Wahl, Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference, Kapolei, Hawaii, July 27-29 2018

“ ‘Imi Na‘auao: Kahumana Organic Farm,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 2018

“Pu‘uhonua ‘O Wai‘anae: Sustainable Approaches to Community Health and Wellness for Displaced Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2017

“Aloha ʻĀina: Houselessness, Learning Communities, and Social Justice,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Vancouver, British Columbia, March 2016

“Ethnography as an Evaluation Tool for Social Change: An Analysis of Local Food Organizations in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” American Anthropological Association Meeting, Washington, DC, December 2014

“Local Food and Gentrification in Southeast Grand Rapids, MI,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, NM, March 2014

“Growing Food, Growing Consciousness: Gardening and Social Justice in Southeast Grand Rapids,” American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, November 2013

“Local Food and Power Dynamics in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Second City Anthropology Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, March 2013

“Planting in Deserts: Social Justice and Gardening in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Coauthors: Inez Adams (Panel Presenter), Lisa Oliver-King, Christina Mello, and Our Kitchen Table, American Anthropological Association, Montreal, Canada, November 2011

“Securing Healthy Food Access in Economically Distressed Urban Neighborhoods: An Alternative Approach,” Anthropology Graduate Symposium, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, February 2011

 “A Sense of Place,” Presented with Our Kitchen Table, Community Food Security Coalition Conference, Des Moines, IA, October 2009

“The Marginalized Voices of Those with Epilepsy: An Anthropology of the Senses,” Anthropology Graduate Symposium, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, April 2007

“Gender and Empowerment: Contemporary Lakota Women of Rosebud,” McNair Conference, Penn State University, State College, PA, July 2004                               

INVITED PRESENTATIONS

“Doing Decolonization and Anti-Racism in Non-Profit Organizations”, Virtual Panelist, Department of Anthropology at the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, April 2021

“Growing Community Wellbeing in Wai‘anae, HI: MA ‘O Organic Farms, Department of Anthropology’s Colloquium Series, University of Hawai‘i Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, March 2021

“Kahumana Farm Hub: A Community Resource,” with Saleh Azizi (co-presenter), Hawai‘i Farmers Union United/Wai‘anae Chapter, Wai‘anae, HI, April 2019.

“Home is What You Make It: Aloha ʻĀina, Belonging and Sustainable Justice at Puʻuhonua O Waianae (POW),” with Kalani Young (co-presenter), Department of Anthropology’s Colloquium Series, University of Hawai‘i Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, April 2017

“Maintaining the Commons in an Urban Setting: The Politics of Food, Racism, Neoliberalism, and Paternalism,” Yale Food Systems Symposium, Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, November 2014

“Local Food and Anthropology,” Grand Valley State University Alumni Event, Panel Discussant, Allendale, MI, October 2013

“Local Food and Structural Racism,” Anthropology Graduate Student Union’s Brown Bag Series, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, February 2012

“Activism and Food Justice,” Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, April 2010

“Our Kitchen Table’s Food Diversity Project: Food is a Right for Everyone,” Panel Discussant, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, January 2010

“Neoliberalism and Drug Addiction,” Dr. Les Field’s Anthropology 340 Critical Issues in Political Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, March 2007

Workshops:

Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop, selected attendee, Birmingham, AL September 23rd through September 27th, 2017

Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Pre-Application Grant Writing Workshop, Honolulu, HI January 14th through January 15th, 2016

Washington Center at The Evergreen State College’s National Summer Institute on Learning Communities, July 13th through July 16th, 2015

  • Society for Applied Anthropology

UNIVERSITY AND DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE

Chair of search committee for Assistant Professor of Forensic Anthropology, 2022-present

UH West Oahu Health Certificate, Co-Developer, 2022-present

Sustainability Committee, UH West Oahu, Chair (2021- present), 2018-present

ECE Taskforce, 2021-present

DPC/TPRC Committees, 2020-present

Search committee for Instructor of Psychology, 2020

Certificate of Applied Forensic Anthropology Advisor, August 2019-present

Chair of search committee for Assistant Professor of Historical Archaeology, 2019-2020

Anthropology Club Advisor, October 2018-September 2019

Sustainability Council, UH System, January 2019-Present

Institute for Engaged Scholarship, University of Hawaii West Oahu, January 2018-August 2021

Faculty Senate, University of Hawaii West Oahu, August 2018-May 2021

Academic Affairs Committee, University of Hawaii West Oahu, August 2016-2018

Search committee for UHWO Outstanding Student Award for Social Sciences, April 2017-2019

Search committee for Sustainable Systems Food Systems position UHWO, Spring 2016

PIKO Learning Communities, UHWO, 2015-2017

Advisor, Anthropology Society, University of Southern Mississippi, August 2014-present

Mentor, Community Engagement Program, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, 2012

Anthropology Colloquium Series Board (student), University of New Mexico, 2011-2012

COMMUNITY SERVICE WORK

Hawai‘i Farmers Union, Waianae Chapter, Waianae, HI, July 2016-present

Board Member

Dynamic Community Solutions, Waianae, HI, December 2015-December 2017

Volunteer

East Michigan Environmental Action Council Remediation Project, Grand Rapids/Detroit, MI, January 2010-June 2010     

Volunteer

Grand Rapids Institute for Informational Democracy, Grand Rapids, MI, October 2009-October 2010       

Volunteer                                          

Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids, MI, Summer 2008-Winter 2010         

Volunteer

Greater Grand Rapids Food System Council, Grand Rapids, MI, Summer 2008-Winter 2010

Board Member/Secretary

Bloom Collective, Grand Rapids, MI, Summer 2008-Winter 2010                    

Volunteer

South East Area Farmers’ Market, Grand Rapids, MI, June 2009-October 2009

Volunteer

Center of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention/African Refugee Project, Albuquerque, NM, Spring 2007

Native American Community Center, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000-2005

Committee Member                                                                                                          

Little Hoop Substance Abuse Center, Rosebud Reservation, Mission, SD, Winter/Spring 2004

Intern

Tree of Life Ministry, Rosebud Reservation, Mission, SD, Winter/Spring 2004 

Intern

White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society, Rosebud Reservation, Mission, SD, Winter/Spring 2004

Intern 

Servants Center, Grand Rapids, MI, Fall 2002

Volunteer