In the summer following their admission to the program, all Mellon Fellows participate in a day day workshop in which they identify the area in which they will conduct research over the next two years and develop the research skills necessary for success. Working intensively with faculty and administrative, as well as with graduate student mentors, the new fellows write a research prospectus and at week's end present their proposal to their peers and mentors.
The heart of the Mellon Program is the mentoring relationship each fellow establishes with the faculty member with whom she works in her junior and senior years. Mentors provide both academic guidance and insight into life as an academic. A Mellon fellow may:
- pursue independent research under the direction of her faculty mentor,
- work as a research assistant on a project that the faculty mentor is currently pursuing; or
- work on curricular or teaching projects of interest to her faculty mentor.
MMUF fellows meet with the faculty and administrative coordinators, graduate student mentors, and invited guests frequently to discuss ongoing research, the process of applying to graduate school, public speaking and other topics such as the joys and challenges of academic life as a person of color and/or woman.
In the summer between their junior and senior years, fellows are funded to conduct research or to participate in one of a number of research programs in the United States or abroad.
Applying to Graduate School
The Barnard MMUF program also helps its fellows apply to graduate school by providing advice on suitable graduate programs, supervising the application process, as well as supplementing testing and application fees. The MMUF coordinators also encourage students to apply in the spring of their junior year to the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, which helps students prepare for graduate school applications.
Fellows attend scholarly conferences, including the local New York Regional Undergraduate Mellon Conference held each spring; they plan and participate in the annual Barnard Mellon Mays Distinguished Lecture. In addition, students have joined in a number of special projects, including a 2003 research trip to South Africa. Fellows have also had the opportunity to work with Barnard faculty on research projects partially funded by Barnard’s Mellon Mays program.
Barnard College MMUF Alumnae
As of 2016, Barnard’s program has been very successful: eleven (11) Barnard MMUF alumnae have earned the Ph.D. and up to twenty others are in Ph.D programs. Our fellows have won national fellowships for graduate study form the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation, among others.