What the Program Provides
Each undergraduate Mellon fellow is paired with at least one faculty mentor, with whom they are expected to meet on a regular basis. Fellows work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research directions and projects. As mentors, faculty members have the knowledge and responsibility to demystify the formal and informal aspects of conducting research, applying to graduate school, competing effectively once in a graduate program, earning the doctorate and pursuing faculty careers. We also encourage undergraduate fellows to cultivate mentoring relationships with MMUF fellows who are advancing through graduate school and into academic careers – and we hope and expect that fellows will themselves become mentors to younger fellows as their own careers advance.
MMUF fellows are chosen in cohorts of four students per academic year. The intention of this selection process is to build a sense of cohort and community among fellows who enter the program at the same time, so that fellows’ growth as scholars can be enhanced by the feedback and support of like-minded peers – a cohort effect that is mutually beneficial for all. We hope – and the program’s history has demonstrated – that the bonds fellows initially form within their undergraduate cohorts can be the basis of larger MMUF support networks that far outlast their undergraduate years.
The MMUF campus program will hold weekly meetings lead by campus coordinators, who in some cases may include fellows' faculty mentors. Students come together to present their research, exchange ideas, and discuss various topics related to academic life and preparation for graduate school. Workshops are often conducted on topics such as taking the GRE, writing and research, public speaking, working effectively with mentors, presenting at academic conferences, applying to graduate school and obtaining graduate funding.
Fellows receive stipends of $3,900 in the summer and $3,600 during the school year so that they may have more time to focus on their academic work and research. Additionally, fellows will receive a modest stipend to conduct research that may include summer travel.
Fellows who pursue fulltime graduate study for 4 years and complete their doctorate would qualify for a maximum of $10,000 in loan repayment.
The regional MMUF undergraduate conferences, which in most cases take place annually, bring together MMUF fellows and coordinators from member institutions in the same geographic region. The conferences allow fellows to present their own research, critique the research of other fellows, make connections in the program outside their own institutions, and gain an early sense of what the academic conference experience is like. There are seven regional conferences in all; California State University Long Beach is part of the West Coast conference which also includes:
- California Institute of Technology
- Claremont Colleges Consortium
- Heritage University
- Stanford University
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of California at Los Angeles
- University of California at Riverside
- University of New Mexico
- University of Southern California
- Whittier College
Every year since 1995, the Harvard University MMUF program has published the MMUF Undergraduate Journal, a collection of scholarly articles by undergraduate Mellon fellows from all member institutions. The aim of this rigorously edited journal is not only to serve as a showcase for fellows’ research and scholarship, but to provide undergraduates with an early glimpse into the processes and expectations of scholarly publishing.
In a larger sense, all undergraduate MMUF program activities further the goal of preparing fellows for graduate school. More specifically, however, each campus is tasked with incorporating into its program strategic lectures, courses or activities to assist fellows with the practical aspects of applying to graduate school. These may include GRE prep courses (funding available for Fellows), guidance on writing personal statements, visits to nearby graduate schools or from graduate school recruiters, and connecting fellows with external graduate school preparation programs.
Each summer fellows are expected to take part in a summer residential experience. Part of the summer will be spent “away” from the home campus and hosted by another MMUF campus. During this portion of the summer experience students will be expected to live on campus. Funding will be provided for the summer residential experience in the amount of $3,900. The summer residential experience is not only another opportunity to continue the MMUF experience but also an opportunity to continue to grow the MMUF community of support.