Life As A Fellow

Weekly Seminars

Fellows take part in a biweekly seminar coordinated by director Elise LaRose. We discuss the research and writing process, prepare for the annual MMUF Midwest Conference, check in about mentorship, and promote community among Fellows.

Preparing for Graduate School

We provide workshops during weekly seminars and beyond on topics such as: choosing a graduate program, writing a strong statement of purpose, funding graduate education, what it is like to be a grad student, and planning a research project, among others.

Faculty Mentoring

MMUF fellows are expected to establish working relationships with faculty that continue during both summers of research and the writing of a bachelor’s thesis. During the academic year, MMUF students should meet with their faculty mentors at least twice per quarter, and we strongly recommend that students take a minimum of 2 courses with their faculty mentor(s). Where this is not possible, we encourage MMUF students to arrange for independent reading courses. Faculty mentors, graduate students and alums of the MMUF program are invited to participate in the social programming sponsored by the University of Chicago Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Program throughout the year.

Mentoring embodies the core principles of the MMUF program, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognizes the faculty/student relationship as the driving force beneath the sustainability and success of this program. Only a consistent commitment to this relationship will enable us to achieve the goals of the program and to bring greater diversity to the academy.

As mentors, faculty members have the knowledge and responsibility to demystify the formal and informal aspects of earning a doctorate. In the mentoring relationship, the sharing of personal experience and the transmission of knowledge intersect in a trusting learning environment that provides opportunities for both mentor and student to stretch beyond her or his boundaries.

– The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


We train Fellows in research methods through the Summer Research Training Program and by mentoring them in designing course schedules with rigorous research requirements during the school year.

Fellows must complete a bachelor’s thesis, or the equivalent, in their majors. At the end of their senior years, fellows are expected to give a presentation of their research to their peers and to associated faculty.

Fellows also check in regularly with director Elise LaRose for more personalized guidance on research, mentorship, and more.

Financial Award

During their time as undergraduates, fellows receive funds – a $4,500 stipend during the summer of their junior and senior years, quarterly stipends of $1,333 during the academic year, a scholar’s development fund of up to $800 annually, up to $1,300 to prepare for graduate school preparation, as well as up to $7,500 for research expenses related to doctoral studies once in graduate school. At the end of a Mellon Mays student’s junior year, the MMUF Program reviews their progress and evaluates if they should continue in the program.

If fellows enter a Ph.D. program in a Mellon-designated field within 39 months following receipt of the undergraduate degree, they are eligible for up to $10,000 loan repayment (see below).

More on Graduate School Loan Repayment

Once in a Ph.D. program, the MMUF repays guaranteed student loans in installments. The first $5,000 is disbursed in yearly increments of up to $1,250 for four years. The second $5,000 is paid upon receipt of the Ph.D. In order for us to be able to make these payments, you must provide us, annually, with a copy of your loan statement as well as with a copy of an official transcript from your graduate institution. The transcript should be accompanied by a note from your graduate school faculty adviser indicating that you are making sufficient progress in your program.

To learn more about the programs run by the Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program, at the Social Science Research Council, please see: To learn more about programs run by the Institute of Citizens & Scholars specifically for MMUF alums, please visit their website. Other Fellowship Programs that support diversity: Ford Foundation & American Council of Learned Societies.