The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was established as a nonprofit philanthropic organization in June of 1969 with a mission to "aid and promote such religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes as may be in the furtherance of the public welfare or tend to promote the well-doing of mankind." In 1988, under this broad charter, the Foundation made a long-term commitment to help remedy the serious shortage of faculty of color in higher education through the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program.
In 2003, the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment and broadened the mission of MMUF. The name of the program was changed to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, to symbolically connect the mission to the stellar educational achievements of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. The fundamental objective of MMUF is to increase the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue PhDs in core fields in the arts and sciences. The program aims to reduce the serious underrepresentation on the faculties of individuals from certain minority groups, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities. The program serves the related goals of structuring campus environments so that they will be more conducive to improved racial and ethnic relations, and of providing role models for all youth. MMUF aims to achieve its mission by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction.
Bryn Mawr College has participated in the MMUF program since its inception in 1988. In any given year, there are ten MMUF students at the College: five seniors and five juniors. The application process is open primarily to sophomores and takes place every spring. The program accepts applications from:
underrepresented minority students interested in pursuing a research project in one of the Mellon designated fields of study (see below).
any student, regardless of race or ethnicity, who has a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities in academia and who wishes to pursue research in one of the designated areas.
In addition, criteria for eligibility include:
interest in pursuing a Ph.D. and an academic career in one of the designated fields
commitment to participating fully in all aspects of the program
willingness to work with a faculty mentor on a Mellon approved research project during the junior and senior years
strong academic promise
status as a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
The MMUF program has identified 22 fields of study most underrepresented by minorities in the academy. Interdisciplinary areas of study may be eligible if they have one or more Mellon fields at their core.
Guided research is the foundation of MMUF, and it is intended to prepare the student for graduate study. Each fellow is required to conduct an individual research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor during the junior and senior years.
Each fellow will choose and develop a relationship with a faculty mentor with whom she is expected to meet on a regular basis. Mentor must be an active scholar and professor in one of the Mellon-designated fields. Mentoring represents a serious commitment of time and effort for both students and professors. An MMUF coordinator will meet with you and your mentor periodically to make sure you are engaging actively and productively in the mentoring process.
Students gather weekly to present their research, exchange and critique ideas, support each other's goals, and participate in professional development workshops.
Students attend lectures or other events at nearby MMUF host campuses, as well. We also plan cultural outings such as attending theatrical or dance performances.
Academic Year: Each fellow is awarded a stipend during the academic year that is disbursed in regular monthly payments. This stipend is intended to facilitate opportunities to engage in research with a faculty mentor by alleviating or eliminating the need to engage in additional paid employment. In exchange for the stipend, the Mellon Foundation expects fellows to conduct research for several hours per week during the academic year.
* Students who receive federal and/or College financial aid should be aware that MMUF stipends may affect their financial aid package. In most cases, the impact will be minimal, but fellows should be in frequent contact with Mellon coordinators and BMC financial aid officers to avoid any problems.
The Mellon Foundation requires each fellow to submit regular records to the Foundation. Both the Foundation and the Bryn Mawr coordinators must have up-to-date contact information for fellows--even after graduation. Because the Foundation is making a long-term investment in its fellows, and collecting information to assess the effectiveness of the program, it is essential that accurate and up-to-date records be maintained on each student. Periodically, you will receive reporting forms (online or hard copy). Please complete and return them promptly.