The program is named after Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, educator, college president, and civil rights activist, and it is underwritten by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program aims to increase the pool of young scholars qualified to meet the needs of educational institutions in the future. As stated by the Mellon Foundation:
“The program aims to reduce over time the serious under-representation of individuals from certain minority groups at the faculty level, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities. The program serves the related goals of structuring campus environments so that they will become more conducive to improved racial and ethnic relations, and of providing role models for all youth.”
The Fellowship allows students to work on paid research projects during the academic year and to pursue full-time research during the summers between sophomore and junior years and between junior and senior years. The program also provides some assistance with student loans.