Core Values

The MMUF vigorously advocates for marginalized perspectives and scholarly inquiries that aim to produce more just and equitable futures. Multivocality – the insistence on empowering many perspectives – lays at the heart of MMUF’s commitment to elevating knowledge that informs more complete narratives of the human experience. 

The program aims to prepare talented students committed to increasing historically marginalized or underrepresented perspectives in academia. We achieve these aims in three ways:


The MMUF program is primarily a research program. We aim to foster future academics, for whom research will be at the heart of their professional academic work. Research experience and production are essential at each stage of the career of a professor-in-training, from the graduate school application process to the tenure process and beyond. As future academics, Fellows require a thorough understanding of the principles and methods of academic research, as well as being confident in practicing research. Thus we give undergraduate fellows intensive and ongoing research experience, beginning at an earlier point in their careers than is typical for most college undergraduates. This is exemplified by the MMUF Summer Research Training program (SRTP) hosted at the University of Chicago, which is required for UChicago Fellows. 

During their undergraduate years, each MMUF fellow is expected to conduct an individual research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor, culminating in a final thesis paper or presentation during the senior year. The SRTP is designed to instill research experience and culminates in a research proposal that Fellows often use as the beginning stages for their final thesis paper or presentation.


The MMUF program is built on the proven notion that mentoring is of critical importance in supporting the growth of future scholars. Each undergraduate Mellon fellow is expected to meet regularly with at least one faculty mentor, often a thesis advisor for third years beginning to prepare for the BA thesis. Fellows work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research directions and projects. 

As mentors, faculty members are expected 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, 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.

  • UChicago fellows are supported through faculty mentorship

Cohort Effect & Community

We typically select cohorts of five students per academic year, such that at any given moment there will be between ten and fifteen fellows on campus. 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. 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. Other opportunities for cohort effect are the Summer Research Training Program and Mellon Mays Midwest conferences.