Texas A&M University Institute of Advanced Studies

Jessica Lesnau

Jessica Lesnau

The HEEP fellowship has allowed me to engage in illuminating research that has enriched not only my academic experience, but also my understanding of legal institutions. As one of two students chosen to be the Law School’s first recipients of the fellowship, I did not know what to expect from collaboration with renowned legal scholar, Professor and Faculty Fellow Richard Delgado. However, working with Professor Delgado has opened my eyes to persistent race issues that permeate our legal institutions.

During the first two months of the fellowship, I worked with Professor Delgado to develop the Third Edition of their most popular book, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. I researched emerging themes in social race-relations to update and revise the book, as its appeal continues to expand beyond the legal community and into social science spheres. Through the revision process, my research explored discriminatory and abusive mortgage refinance instruments, how existing legal frameworks address microaggressions as a form of discrimination, examples of implicit bias in jury selection, and counter-storytelling through campus speech initiatives and social media outlets. I also had the opportunity to assist Professor Delgado in writing a scholarly article, forthcoming in the Alabama Law Review in the fall of 2016. Notably, the article challenges a controversial ruling by a federal district judge in a civil rights case out of Alabama. My research relationship will continue with Professor Delgado throughout the fall semester, and I look forward to an equally rewarding experience.

The HEEP fellowship has been instrumental in allowing me to balance research and my rigorous academic schedule without the added stress of a job. My husband is also a full-time student working toward a master's degree; the fellowship has alleviated financial strains on our marriage so that we can both focus on fulfilling our academic aspirations. I could not be more grateful for such a tremendous opportunity.

Ms. Lesnau graduated in May 2017.



Graduation Year

May 2017

Degree Type


Fellowship Year(s)


Previous Education

B.A. in Government and Spanish-Hispanic Studies - The University of Texas at Austin - '10


Andrew Morriss