Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) was founded partly to rectify the problem of underrepresentation in academia. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, headquartered in New York City, the Washington University Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program celebrates the life of the mind by funding original undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences, with an emphasis on projects pertaining to identity, social justice, and diversity. The program encourages talented students to develop their academic interests to the fullest, obtain PhDs, and pursue careers in higher education. Washington University joins 46 other colleges and universities as well as the 39 member institutions of the United Negro College Fund in this effort.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program is open to students who show a demonstrated commitment to increasing cross-racial and ethnic understanding, who are American citizens or permanent residents, and who are majoring in one of the listed fields.

Our Roots: Benjamin E. Mays 
The fellowship namesake, Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, was an active opponent of segregation and an advocate of education. After attending the University of Chicago for his master's degree and doctorate, he served as dean of the Howard University School of Religion and as president of Morehouse College. He was also the first black president of the Atlanta school board.
Read more on the national Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship website.

MMUF Alumna Interviews & Events

Book Talk With Jessica Johnson

WUSTL AND AFAS Alum, Jessica Johnson, has rescheduled her fall talk for Monday, February 15. We are excited to welcome Jessica Johnson back to Washington University. She will be doing a book talk on her new book, Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World. Johnson is a historian of Atlantic slavery and the Atlantic African diaspora. As a digital humanist, Johnson explores ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent. This event is open to the public so please share with anyone interested.

Register Here

Dr. Lauren Henley

Dr. Lauren Henley is 2015 graduate and MMUF alumna from the 21st cohort. Upon receiving the news in December 2019 that Henley had successfully defended her dissertation- "Constructing Clementine: Murder, Terror, and the (Un)making of Community in the Rural South, 1900-1930' at the University of Texas at Austin in History, we knew we had to interview the newly titled Dr. Henley about her journey to Mellon and her experience as one who took up the life of the mind.

Read Dr. Henley's interview here:

Dr. Joy Sales

One of the first things many accepted fellows are told about the Mellon program is the extensiveness of the network. This academic year, we were fortunate enough to have not only one but two Mellon alumni join our campus. Drs. Lauren Eldridge Stewart and Joy Sales brought with them the openness and dedication to young emerging scholars that any program would want of their alumni. They graciously agreed to share with our magazine a bit about their respective journeys through academia and offer relatable advice to the next generations of Mellon.

Read Dr. Sales Interview Here:

Dr. Lauren Eldridge Stewart

One of the first things many accepted fellows are told about the Mellon program is the extensiveness of the network. This academic year, we were fortunate enough to have not only one but two Mellon alumni join our campus. Drs. Lauren Eldridge Stewart and Joy Sales brought with them the openness and dedication to young emerging scholars that any program would want of their alumni. They graciously agreed to share with our magazine a bit about their respective journeys through academia and offer relatable advice to the next generations of Mellon.

Read Dr. Eldridge's Interview Here:

Toward a More Inclusive Academy: MMUF at 30

A signature initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program addresses the problem of underrepresentation in the academy, especially at a time when populations of American college students are more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. To date almost 850 MMUF fellows have earned PhDs, the majority of whom teach in the academy. In celebration of the program's 30th anniversary, this short documentary features interviews with MMUF fellows at all stages of their academic careers, from current undergraduate fellows to faculty members, along with MMUF coordinators and staff of the Mellon Foundation. Please join us in celebrating the success of MMUF and the vital contributions of its alumni toward the diversification of the academy and its scholarship.

Watch the Video Here:

Nominate a Fellow

We are recruiting for our next cohort of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows. If you have worked with a student who would be a good fit for the program, please let us know by completing the form below.

Nominate a Fellow

Our Leadership

Faculty Director – Professor Rafia Zafar

Professor Zafar writes about the intersection of food, authorship, and American identities, nineteenth-century Black writers, and the Harlem Renaissance.

Zafar began her career at Washington University in St. Louis as Director of the Program in African & African American Studies; she has also directed Undergraduate Honors in the Department of English.

Zafar has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Virginia Center for the Humanities; in 2007 she held the Walt Whitman Distinguished Fulbright Chair at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In 2014-2015 she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar in Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.  To learn more about Professor Zafar, visit her site.

 

Program Coordinator – Dean Wilmetta Diallo

Dean Toliver-Diallo serves the College Office as a Four-year Advisor and a PreHealth Advisor. She manages the Junior year programs, including Fall Forward in the fall and Junior Jumpstart in the spring. She is the Coordinator for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. In January 2020, she was a participating coordinator in the MMUF January Programme in Cape Town, South Africa.

Her research interests include Francophone Africa, African Cinema, and the relationship between history and popular culture in Senegal. Toliver-Diallo is the founding director of Washington University’s African Film Festival. She also directs the Senegal Summer Program for the university every other summer. 

 

Publication Archive