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About Our Program

The purpose of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program is to help to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning by mentoring and preparing undergraduates for graduate school and academic positions in selected humanities and social science disciplines.

Established by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1988, the program funds MMUF programs at member institutions and consortiums.  Its name honors Dr. Benjamin Mays who was dean of the Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse College, as well as president of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program reflects Dr. Mays’ values in its commitment to fostering the academic aspirations of members of traditionally under-represented groups and/or those with interests in studies aimed at eliminating racial and ethnic inequalities.

The MMUF program at UC Riverside is administered by the Center for Ideas and Society, the humanities research center for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

For more information on the organization’s history and mission, visit the National Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship website.

UCR became a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Member Institution in 2014. You can download our brochure for an overview of UCR’s program or click on the links below.

A voluntary board of faculty members helps develop the UC Riverside program and selects fellows for admission each year. We encourage students to contact these MMUF faculty ambassadors for questions about research, graduate school, and our program.

Alejandra Dubcovsky (History) alejandra.dubcovsky@ucr.edu

Benjamin Liu (Hispanic Studies) benjamin.liu@ucr.edu

Jennifer Hughes (History) jennifer.hughes@ucr.edu

Dylan Rodriguez  (Ethnic Studies) **former Mellon Mays Fellow** dylan.rodriguez@ucr.edu

Peter Graham (Philosophy; CHASS Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities) peter.graham@ucr.edu

Goldberry Long (Creative Writing) goldberry.long@ucr.edu

Richard Cardullo (Biology; University Honors) richard.cardullo@ucr.edu

Rickerby Hinds (Theatre) rickerby.hunds@ucr.edu

Sang-hee Lee (Anthropology; CHASS Associate Dean of Social Sciences) sang-hee.lee@ucr.edu

Steven Brint (Sociology) steven.brint@ucr.edu

Yolanda Moses (Anthropology) yolanda.moses@ucr.edu

Students in any undergraduate major may apply to the program. But keep in mind that the program is designed for students who intend to pursue (or are strongly considering) graduate study in one of the areas of study listed below. If you have questions about your major or your eligibility for the program, contact us.

Anthropology & Archaeology
Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies
Art History
Geography & Population Studies
Film, Cinema & Media Studies (theoretical focus)
Musicology & Ethnomusicology
Foreign Languages & Literatures

Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
Philosophy & Political Theory
Religion & Theology
Theater (theoretical focus)

Download a Two-Year Program Schedule

The MMUF online program application opens in August and closes in early February each year. Successful candidates are notified of admission in April. Transfer students are awarded conditional fellowships, pending acceptance to UCR and completion of the UCR Statement of Intent to Register (SIR).

Soon after being notified of admission to the program, the Fellows select or are matched with a faculty mentor who will help the student prepare a preliminary reading list for the first summer’s research.

In May, new and continuing Fellows, mentors, and program coordinators meet for a welcome reception and celebration of graduating members.

The First Summer:

During their first summer in the program, Fellows participate in a summer research program, either at UCR or elsewhere.
In the week before the fall quarter begins, the Fellows meet in a joint orientation session with their MMUF cohort to discuss the values of the MMUF program, fellowship expectations, and requirements. Mentors and Fellows also have an opportunity to set their research agendas for the year.

Year One:

(1) Developing Research Skills

During the year, MMUF Fellows pursue their research projects and meet with their faculty mentors twice a month at a minimum as a means of monitoring and facilitating their progress. (Fellows have the option to receive academic credit/units for seminar work and research.) Toward the end of the year, Fellows are encouraged to consider submitting the preliminary results of their research to the University of California Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal (http://ugr.ucr.edu/journal.html) and presenting the results of their research at the UCR Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (http://ugr.ucr.edu/symposium.html).

During fall quarter, Fellows also attend the Annual Western Regional Conference organized by California’s MMUF programs. This joint programming with other MMUF institutions in the region provides further opportunities to network with colleagues through a rich exchange among Fellows, to present papers, and to attend workshops that will enhance the Fellows’ sense of belonging to a community of scholars.

(2) Developing Writing Skills & Graduate School Application Materials

Every other week, new Fellows engage in a writing workshop with the Writing Specialist. The instructor guides students in preparation of a personal statement, research statement, writing sample and other elements of the graduate school application. The Specialist also provides support for general academic and research writing.

(3) Exploring Academic Life

Alternating weekly meetings not devoted to developing writing skills include sessions with an assortment of UCR faculty members, graduate students and visitors who will talk about their trajectories and lives as academics, their reasons for pursuing the research in which they are engaged, their teaching experiences and the goals they have for their research, teaching, service, and outreach.

(4) Professionalization

The MMUF program asks MMUF Fellows to attend selected extra-curricular lectures on campus and provides opportunities for them to meet with the lecturers on an informal basis before- or after-lecture. These meetings provide opportunities for students and visiting lecturers to talk about the lecturers’ academic careers, their reasons for becoming academics, and their research and teaching goals.

The Second Summer:

During the summer before their second fellowship year begins, Fellows conduct 8-10 weeks of intensive research in close consultation with their faculty mentors. This research may be a continuation or deepening of the first year’s research or may widen that research to pursue a related theme. Students complete a portion of their final paper which serves as a writing sample to be submitted with Fellow’s graduate applications in December.

With the help of their mentors, Fellows select the graduate schools and programs that best suit their interests and goals. Fellows also take a GRE preparatory class and continue to assemble the components of their graduate school applications, including letters of recommendation.

Year Two:

During the Fall Quarter, Fellows take the GRE and submit their graduate school applications. Throughout the second year, students attend extra-curricular lectures, meet in weekly seminars and twice monthly with their mentors, and participate in information sessions for new MMUF recruits.

By winter quarter of the second academic year, students complete their research projects and final papers. Fellows submit the results of their research to the University of California Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal, and the UCR Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. In addition, they participate in the Annual Western Regional Conference and may attend other conferences as available.

During the Winter and Spring, under the guidance of their mentors, Fellows have the opportunity to develop a syllabus related to their research topic for a 2-unit R’course to be taught in the Spring Quarter. R’course is a program that allows undergraduates to lead a one or two-unit class under the mentorship of a faculty member. R’ courses seek to encourage discussion of timely topics outside of the regular classroom curriculum.

Graduating Fellows receive certificates of completion at the annual spring dinner in May.

Prospective applicants are expected to fulfill the requirements stated below:

  • Engage in research over the course of two years and intend to enroll in a PhD program in one of the Mellon-designated fields within three years of graduation from UCR.
  • Enroll in a Summer Research Program during the first summer in the program.
  • Participate in mandatory weekly seminar meetings and other MMUF programming designed to prepare students for doctoral study.
  • Meet regularly with a faculty mentor for the duration of the two-year fellowship.
  • Design and complete an independent research project in consultation with a faculty mentor. (This project may be related to a senior honors thesis.)
  • Be prepared to discuss and present research findings during seminar.
  • Where possible, publish a full-length academic paper in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal or other academic undergraduate journal.
  • Be in residence at UCR for the first quarter in the program before undertaking any EAP or UC/DC program.
  • Attend and present your research at the regional MMUF conferences each October.
  • Actively participate in the recruitment of next year’s cohort of Mellon Mays Fellows.
  • Maintain regular contact with the MMUF program office and adhere to program rules and regulations.
  • Inform the program director if you are no longer interested in an academic career.
  • Successfully complete undergraduate education at UCR.

Why summer research?

New Fellows are required to attend a research program during their first summer in Mellon Mays. Since most summer application deadlines end in early February, we ask that all MMUF applicants also apply to summer programs at the same time that they apply to Mellon Mays.

In order to ensure the odds of being accepted into a summer program, we encourage students to submit two or more applications. Most applications are simple, but some require letters of recommendation. Plan ahead to avoid a last minute scramble to gather the needed documents.

We ask students to attend summer research programs for two reasons. First, though programs vary from school to school, all provide students with research training, advice about graduate school and valuable experience with faculty and undergraduates at other colleges and universities. Second, travel broadens the mind! Summer programs are a unique opportunity to visit new places and meet new people.

The MMUF summer stipend helps pay for summer program and travel expenses not covered by the hosting institution.

**Two programs on the list (UCLA and University of Chicago) are open to new Mellon Fellows only. Deadlines for these programs are in April.

Download the 2018 Summer Program List

Though we make every effort to ensure accuracy, the deadlines and descriptions on our list may be out-of-date. Check program websites for the most accurate information.

Other undergraduate summer programs may qualify. Contact us if you are not sure the program you are interested in will meet the requirement.

Support, funding, workshops, and networking opportunities continue even after Mellon Mays fellows complete their undergraduate degrees.

Mellon Mays Gap Assistance Program

MMGAP is a set of post-baccalaureate resources and events for Fellows taking a gap year and preparing to apply to Mellon-approved doctoral programs in six or 12 months. This transitional program is a bridge between the fantastic support Fellows receive in their undergraduate programs and the myriad funding and development opportunities that Woodrow Wilson and SSRC offer to graduate students and PhDs.

Mellon Mays Fellowship Professional Network (MMFPN) at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

The Mellon Mays Fellows Professional Network (MMFPN) provides formal and informal networking and mentoring opportunities to Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) alumni in every profession and in every stage of their career path, adhering to the unofficial motto: “Once a Mellon, always a Mellon.”

Mellon Mays Graduate Initiative Program at the Social Science Research Council

The Graduate Initiatives Program builds upon the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) by supporting MMUF fellows from the early stages of graduate school to the post-Ph.D. years. It is only open to Ph.D. students who were selected as Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows. Program components include conferences, workshops, writing retreats and grant opportunities.