History of the Mellon Program at Penn

spenn_logo_noname_1331240177.jpgThe University of Pennsylvania has been a participating institution in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program since the program was founded in 1988 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The MMUF Program at Penn provides a small cohort of extraordinary Humanities and Social Sciences undergraduates with an array of programming services. Students selected as Fellows are matched with a faculty mentor who serves as a role model and research advisor. Under the mentor's guidance, Fellows are encouraged to discover an intellectual identity as they begin the process of becoming scholars and teachers. Fellows receive benefits including paid national and international summer research internships, research support during the academic year, book stipends, access to disciplinary conferences, and other opportunities. The Penn MMUF program has a 100% graduation rate and an 82% graduate program matriculation rate. The Penn MMUF program currently has five undergraduate Fellows. To date, twenty-five Penn Mellon Fellow alumni have received doctoral degrees.

A unique aspect of our program is the annual retreat.  During this time the Fellows get to know one another and our program faculty and staff, and begin to bond as a community of scholars in a relaxed setting. Fellows also explore graduate program options in light of their research and curricular interests, hear candid advice from faculty colleagues on the choices they have made in their own lives to advance their scholarship, and provide their input on program planning for the academic year. The retreat is held over a weekend.

Throughout the academic year, mandatory group meetings are held weekly.  Fellows are encouraged to share information on not only their research and academics, but their lives in general. A calendar of program activities is distributed early in the Fall semester and includes such activities as presentations of summer research, workshops on the graduate school application process, how to write a personal statement, critique of writing samples, how to apply to fellowships and other activities as needed to promote the academic success of our fellows.