Undergraduate Research

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Jacques Forbes '19 presents his MMUF research at the Senior Symposium, April 27, 2019.
Jacques Forbes '19 presents his MMUF research at the Senior Symposium, April 27, 2019.
Photo credit: John Seyfried

Established in 1988 by the Mellon Foundation to address the barriers that result in the problem of underrepresentation in the faculty ranks of higher education, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) is committed to supporting a diverse professoriate and to promoting the value of multivocality in the humanities and related disciplines, elevating accounts, interpretations, and narratives that expand present understandings. Its name honors Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, the noted African American educator, statesman, minister, and former president of Morehouse College.

Founded with an initial cohort of eight member institutions, including Oberlin College, the program now has forty-seven member schools and three consortia.

Through a pipeline process that emphasizes mentoring, research support, programming, and student cohort building, Mellon partners with member colleges and universities to identify and support students of great promise and help them become scholars and professionals of the highest distinction.

Through two summers and two academic years of mentored research, students will gain the research, professional, and academic skills needed to succeed in PhD programs. Our core values include research, mentoring, and cohort support networks.

To date, the program has produced more than 1,100 PhDs, almost 800 of whom are currently college professors and 300 of whom have taken their humanities training into venues ranging from museums and nonprofit organizations to publishing houses and government positions. At any given time, about 800 MMUF fellows are enrolled in PhD programs, while the fellowship supports approximately 500 undergraduate students each year.

Oberlin is honored to have particpated in the MMUF program since its founding and is proud of its alumni and their contributions. 

Language adapted from the Mellon Foundation's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship website