The Mellon Research Scholars Program at the University of Houston supports students from backgrounds underrepresented in the academy (Hispanic, African American, Pacific Islander) and other undergraduates with a demonstrated commitment to the goal of building a diverse academy in the humanities. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is committed to training future scholars and supporting scholarship in the humanities, thereby contributing to culture and society. Each participant receives a total of $5,000 for conducting a summer research project and participating in developmental academic and mentorship activities from spring of their junior year through spring of their senior year. Participants can also receive up to six points towards the Honors in Co-Curricular Engagement transcript designation.
Learn More about the Mellon Scholars Program
About the Program
Twenty humanities students will be selected for the program which will begin in spring 2023. Each participant receives a total of $5,000 for conducting research and participating in developmental academic and mentorship activities for spring 2023-spring 2024. Recipients will receive $1,100 at the end of the spring 2023 semester and $3,900 during summer 2023. Research in the humanities might include gathering and analyzing primary and secondary sources in your field. It also might involve critically evaluating historical or contemporary texts, journal articles, or scholars. This research culminates in a research paper or thesis that Mellon Research Scholars present by the end of the program. All Mellon Research Scholars will present at UH Undergraduate Research Day.
How to Apply
The online application asks for candidates’ basic biographical information, a resume, and the completion of three essays. One letter of recommendation from a UH professor is also required for a complete application.
- University of Houston main campus undergraduate students in the humanities who are graduating in fall 2023 and spring 2024
- Students highly motivated to conduct research and attend graduate school within the humanities
- Students from backgrounds underrepresented in the academy (Hispanic, African American, Pacific Islander) and other undergraduates with a demonstrated commitment to the goal of building a diverse academy in the humanities
Eligible fields within the humanities include:
African American Studies
Asian American Studies
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
& Transgender (GLBT) Studies
Latin American Studies
(if minors are in the humanities)
Mexican American Studies
Phronesis Politics and Ethics
(Research interests must be in political philosophy.)
(Research interests must be in qualitative studies.)
U.S. Ethnic Studies
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality
World Cultures and Literatures
If you have a question whether your field of study qualifies, please contact Dr. Rikki Bettinger.
This exciting program includes an opportunity for students to participate in a semester seminar series in spring 2023 and a two-week, full-time camp on applying to graduate school in May 2023, conduct a full-time summer research project under the direction of a faculty mentor in summer 2023, and complete a senior honors thesis or an intensive research study from fall 2023-spring 2024. All students will have the opportunity to choose research topics that appeal to their scholarly interests in their field of study. Each Mellon Research Scholar receives a total of $5,000 for successfully completing the program—$1,100 for the graduate school camp in May and $3,900 for the full-time summer research experience.
Faculty-Led Mellon Research Seminar Series and Proposal Development
The Mellon Research Scholars will attend a faculty-led seminar series throughout the spring semester. Students will be exposed to the types of research currently taking place on campus. University of Houston faculty members in the humanities will present on their research and discuss various graduate school tracks within the students’ fields of interest. During this same semester, students will work with or secure a faculty mentor. Collaboratively, the student and faculty mentor will develop a research proposal to execute during summer 2023.
Mellon Boot Camp on Applying to Graduate School and Competitive Fellowships
Scholars receive $1,100 for participating in a full-time, two-week camp (May 15-26, 2023). The seminar series will cover topics such as writing a personal statement, developing a curriculum vitae (CV), preparing for the GRE, applying for nationally competitive scholarships, and creating a writing sample. During the workshop, the Mellon Research Scholars will be required to develop a personal statement, a CV, and a plan for executing their summer research project. There will also be faculty-led panels on pursuing career trajectories within the humanities, conducting interdisciplinary research, and entering academia.
Mellon Full-Time Summer Research Experience
The Mellon Research Scholars will receive a $3,900 fellowship to conduct a full-time, 10-week research experience (June 1-August 4, 2023) during the summer. The faculty mentors will guide the students throughout their summer research projects. The Mellon Research Scholars will also attend a weekly lecture series offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards. Seminar topics will include employing research ethics, using library resources, and developing a research poster to present at the next UH Undergraduate Research Day.
Fall 2023-Spring 2024
Senior Honors Thesis or Intensive Independent Study, and Graduate Program Application Support
Mellon Scholars will conduct faculty-mentored senior honors theses or independent study projects during their final academic year. The project will either be an expansion of their summer research investigations, or a new inquiry within their discipline. Mellon Scholars will receive support for their graduate program applications.
Research Faculty Mentor
Candidates are encouraged to secure a faculty mentor within the humanities with whom to conduct research before applying to the Mellon Research Scholars program. This faculty mentor would guide the student in research during the full-time summer research experience (summer 2023) and during their final academic year (fall 2023-spring 2024). Within the Mellon Research Scholars online application, students should discuss the research they plan to conduct with their faculty mentor. Also, the letter of recommendation required for the Mellon application should come from this designated faculty mentor.
Although recommended, securing a faculty mentor prior to applying for the Mellon program is not necessarily required. If students do not have a designated research faculty member, then applicants should discuss the types of research areas within the humanities that are most of interest to them and why. For information on how to secure a faculty member to conduct research with as an undergraduate, visit the Getting Started in Research webpage.
Letter of Recommendation
One letter of recommendation from a UH faculty member is required when applying for the Mellon Research Scholars Program. If the student has secured a faculty member to conduct research with for the Mellon program, then the letter should be from this professor. If the student has not secured a faculty member to conduct research with for the Mellon program, the letter can be from any UH faculty member, but preferably from a professor within a humanities department on campus. On the application, the applicant will identify the name and email of the letter writer. The applicant should ask for a letter of recommendation as early as possible and no later than two weeks ahead of the deadline to give the professor time to prepare the letter. The letter of recommendation should be emailed to Associate Director Dr. Rikki Bettinger by Fri., December 2, 2022.
Mellon Research Scholars are expected to:
- Attend all Spring seminar events and the Mellon Graduate School Bootcamp
- Conduct 10 weeks of full-time summer research
- Attend weekly summer webinars coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards from 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
- Not enroll in a summer course
- If a student MUST take a summer course for extenuating circumstances, a petition form may be accepted on a case-by-case basis
- Students may not earn course credit for the Mellon program
- Complete the online survey, which is due on August 10th.
- Present a research poster at Undergraduate Research Day in April
Names and headshots of Mellon Scholars and faculty mentors will be included in the annual Undergraduate Research Day booklet and in other online and print promotional materials.
Mellon Scholars will receive up to 6 points towards the Honors in Co-Curricular Engagement (HCCE) transcript designation (3 points for the summer research component and 3 points for the spring development series and graduate school prep bootcamp). The HCCE transcript designation is awarded to students upon graduation who pursue a broad range of experiential learning opportunities from freshman to senior year. Students can pursue undergraduate research, internships, learning away and abroad, service learning, leadership experience and other academic enrichment opportunities.
Humanities Student but Not Yet Eligible?