Program Information

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program is the centerpiece of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s strategic initiative to create more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience.

The University of Southern California’s MMUF program is a partnership between the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences and the Office of the Provost. For more information on other Mellon Mays Programs click here.

To quote from Mellon’s published grant making strategies in higher education: “We seek, in particular, to amplify perspectives and contributions that have been marginalized within the conventional scholarly record, and that promote the realization of a more socially just world.”

We aim to identify qualified undergraduate students who might choose to pursue an academic path to Ph.D. programs in the humanities or humanistic social sciences in one of the following areas of exploration, or similar fields:

  • historical and contemporary treatments of race/racialization and racial formation;
  • intersectional experience and analysis;
  • gender and sexuality;
  • Indigenous history and culture;
  • questions about diaspora;
  • coloniality and decolonization;
  • the carceral state;
  • migration and immigration;
  • urban inequalities and ethnographies;
  • social movements and mass mobilizations;
  • the transatlantic slave trade;
  • settler colonial societies;
  • racial disparities and outcomes;
  • and literary and philosophical accounts of agency, subjectivity, and community, among other areas.

Fifty-seven colleges and universities, and the member institutions of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) participate in MMUF. According to the Mellon website: Thus far 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.

For more information about the national program, please visit the national website:

See APPLY for more information on the application processs.

  • Applications for the 2024-2025 Cohort will be live on January 16th, 2024.

    Please click here to apply.

    Please note all letters of recommendation must be sent to by the application deadline.

    Deadline: 2/20/24 at 11:59pm


    Please register here to attend our Informational Networking Reception and Dinner. This will be an opportunity to engage with the current cohort, alum, and faculty mentors involved with this prestigious program.

    To connect with current fellows and faculty mentors to learn more about the program, we invite you to watch a previously recorded Mellon Mays Information Session.
  • Fellowships are awarded to USC sophomores and juniors during the spring semester. Participation in the program is limited to students considering graduate study towards a Ph.D. in Mellon-supported fields.

    Participation is not limited by a student’s undergraduate field of concentration.

    **The program is not intended for students interested in attending business school, law school, or medical school.**

    The following factors are considered in the selection of fellows:

    • Academic promise;
    • Interest in pursuing graduate education, especially a PhD, in an eligible discipline of the humanities or humanistic social sciences (a list of eligible fields can be viewed here);
    • Potential for serving as a mentor and teacher to a wide variety of students;
    • Activities and leadership that reflect an interest in social justice issues and the promotion of multivocality;
    • Availability for, and commitment to, full and enthusiastic participation in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences and regular meetings;
    • Response to a short essay prompt about how the applicant’s life experiences and academic goals would contribute to furthering the goal of a diverse academy; and
    • Status as a US citizen or permanent resident. Students who are undocumented or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients may apply if it is consistent with their institution’s policies.
  • Majors:

    • American Studies & Ethnicity
    • African American Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies
    • Archaeology
    • Art History
    • American and English Literature
    • Asian American Studies
    • Chicano/Latino Studies
    • Classics
    • Comparative Literature
    • Chinese
    • Demography
    • East Asian Area Studies
    • East Asian Languages and Cultures
    • English
    • Film, Cinema, and Media Studies(theoretical focus)
    • Foreign Languages and Literature
    • French
    • Gender Studies
    • Geography
    • German
    • History
    • Interdisciplinary Studies (need to have one or more Mellon fields at their core)
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Judaic Studies
    • Korean
    • Linguistics
    • Literature
    • Musicology & Ethnomusicology
    • Music Performance Studies(theoretical focus)
    • Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
    • Philosophy
    • Political Theory
    • Population Studies
    • Religion and Theology
    • Russian
    • Sociology
    • Spanish
    • Theater (non-performance focus)


    • Ancient Religion and Classical Languages
    • African American Studies
    • American Studies and Ethnicity
    • Anthropology
    • Arabic and Middle East Studies
    • Area/Cultural/Ethnic Studies
    • Art History
    • Chicano/Latino Studies
    • Classics
    • Comparative Literature
    • Cultural Anthropology
    • Cultural Studies
    • East Asian Area Studies
    • East Asian Languages and Cultures
    • English
    • Ethics and Moral Philosophy
    • Film, Cinema, and Media Studies(theoretical focus)
    • Foreign Languages
    • Folklore and Popular Culture
    • Forensics and Criminality
    • French
    • Gender Studies
    • Geography
    • Geographic Information Science and Technology
    • German
    • History
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Jewish American Studies
    • Judaic Studies
    • Korean
    • Latin American Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Middle East Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
    • Religion
    • Russian
    • Russian Area Studies
    • Sociology
    • Southeast Asia and its People
    • Spanish
    • Theater (non-performance focus)


  • Research Stipends

    Fellows receive a stipend of $2000 for the fall and spring semesters to support their research efforts. Additionally, during the summer months, each fellow receives a $4000 stipend.

    Loan Repayment

    The Mellon Mays Fellowship offers a loan forgiveness program to help students overcome disincentives to pursue an academic career caused by undergraduate loan indebtedness. Fellows who enroll in a Mellon approved Ph.D. program within 39 months of receiving their undergraduate degrees are eligible for up to $10,000 in undergraduate loan payments. The program repays guaranteed student loans in installments. The first $5,000 is disbursed in yearly increments of up to $1,250 for four years. The second $5,000 is paid upon receipt of the Ph.D., provided the degree is completed within six years.

    Information regarding loan repayment is available at MMUF Loan Repayment.

  • Annual Western Regional Conference 

    The USC, Stanford University, Heritage University, Whittier College, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, and Cal Tech Mellon programs collaborate to host an annual regional conference. The conference provides an opportunity for fellows to meet each other, discuss research ideas, and motivate each other to succeed in their academic and personal lives. It is typically held near the end of the fall semester (early to mid November or early December), at one of the seven campuses.


    Workshops, Meetings, and Other Activities may include:

    • Mellon Fellows Mandatory Monthly Meetings
    • Research Course for fellows
    • Graduate School Workshops on various topics
    • Attendance at national conferences with mentors

    Mentor-Fellow Interaction


    Fellows work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research projects. The interaction that occurs between mentors and fellows typically includes:

    • development of a plan for working together and a timeline for completion of the project
    • regular communication (meetings, emails, phone calls, reviews of report drafts, etc.)
    • exchange of articles or suggested readings about research or topics of interest



    Fellows are expected to present their research through scholarly articles, oral reports, workshops, conferences, multimedia displays, and at USC ‘s annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work. 

    Senior fellows also have the opportunity to publish their research in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal.

  • USC Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows presented their research at the 2021 West Coast Regional Conference

    The 2021 West Coast Regional Conference hosted in collaboration between USC Dornsife Office of Diversity and CalTech was held on November 5th & 6th, virtually.

    Click here to access the playlist of recorded Zoom sessions from the conference.

  • Predoctoral Grants

    The Pre-doctoral Research Grant, administered by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), is available to graduate students during the earlier stages of their program.  The grant is dispersed in five progress related installments, totaling $5,000. It may be used to cover research related expenses such as books, data collection, computer usage and hardware, travel associated with research, printing, and reproduction costs.

    For more information, please visit the SSRC Pre-doctoral Research Grantpage.

    Annual Graduate Student Summer Conference

    The SSRC-Mellon Summer Conference provides:

    • a venue for interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration
    • assistance in the transition from undergraduate to graduate school
    • opportunities for graduate students to come together from disparate campuses to develop ideas and networking
    • a forum for MMUF students to share their scholarship
    • an opportunity for participants to address critical issues in higher education

    For more information, please visit the SSRC Conferences and Workshops page.

    Travel, Research, and Dissertation Grants

    Graduate students who have completed all coursework and passed their qualifying exams are eligible to apply for Travel & Research Grants, administered through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF). Travel and Research Grants provide graduate students with financial support to complete research at the dissertation writing stage.  Funding is for one summer or one semester of travel and/or research support.  These competitive grants carry a maximum of $5,000 per student.

    Dissertation grants provide graduate students, ready to complete the PhD, with up to $20,000 for one year to finish the dissertation.  Awards are competitive.

    For more information, please visit:

  • There are many opportunities for graduate student participants outside of USC. Please visit our Support Programs page for more information.

  • Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowships

    The Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF).  Its purpose is to support the research and promotion of former MMUF Fellows during their third year of a tenure track position. This competitive award includes a $30,000 stipend, a $1,500 research, travel or publication stipend, and an annual retreat.

    For more information, please see the MMUF site.

    United Negro College Fund (UNCF)/Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Program

    Funds are available to ABD faculty members teaching at UNCF member institutions.  The funds may be used to complete research for the PhD or to participate in summer workshops and/or seminars that will enhance their academic careers.  Applications must be submitted to the UNCF/Mellon Director.

    For more information about this program, please visit the UNCF site.

    Other Opportunities

    • There are many opportunities for Postdoctoral program participants outside of USC. Please visit our Support Programs page for more information.


Roxane Fuentes, ‘94

Dayna Lynne North, ‘95

Eric Wilson, ‘96

Christopher Muniz, ‘96

Tabare Mitami Depaep ‘96

Jennifer Anne Esperanza ‘96

Ashanti Luke ‘96

Alegre Ramos ‘96

Rachel Elizabeth Mastrapa ‘97

Adam Avilez ‘97

Jonathan David Morrow ‘97

Maria Eugenia Munoz (Chacon) ‘97

Stephen D. Perry ‘97

Michele Ann Woo (Rangel) ‘97

Angela Marie Martinez ‘98

Kellie Rymes (Dawson) ‘98

Brenda A. Shoo ‘98

Arthur Barela, III ‘99

Natasha Viquez (Marrus) ‘99

Emily D. Mark ‘99

Dianne Beatrice Molina ‘99

Allison Barrows ‘00

Christina M. Tamplin ‘00

Arlene Florence Rocafort ‘02

Abraham Acosta ‘99

Maritza Cardenas ‘99

Elena Dicus ‘00

Kimberly Komatsu ‘00

Tonya M. Nichols (Callahan) ‘00

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins, III ‘01

Manuel Elias ‘01

Brandon Paradise ‘01

Juan Raul Vargas ‘02

Erika M. Young ‘02

Britany M. Engelman ‘02

Devon Michael Gallegos ‘02

Tzenni Bah B. Garcia ‘03

Jennifer M. Hanna ‘03

John A. Jimenez ‘03

Wendy M. Arce ‘03

Mia C. Navarro ‘03

Tiffany Purnell ‘03

Maria-Itzel Siegrist ‘03

Ashlea Tate ‘03

Isael Hermosillo ‘03

Rick Cory ‘04

Nathaniel Dumas ‘04

Christopher Ferguson ‘04

Margaret Gover ‘04

Steve L. Ramirez ‘04

Cristina Hernandez ‘05

Leticia Franco ‘05

Alessa Itsell (Martin) ‘05

Alison M. Leon ‘05

Lidiana Portales (Blair) ‘05

Jennifer Rogla ‘05

Vanessa Carson (Jonsson) ‘05

Brigid McManama ‘05

Jessica Reveles ‘06

Sara Wollenstein (Naudin) ‘06

Monte Wylie ‘06

Howard Harris ‘07

Laura Gutierrez ‘07

Marcelo Sousa ‘07

Wendy Mata ‘08

Raquel Chavez ‘07

Tamiel Holloway ‘07

Ebenge Usip ‘07

Shauna France ‘08

Adriana Resendez ‘08

Vanessa Hongsathavij ‘09

Azure Williams ‘08

Njideka Adanma Chiaghana ‘08

Amaka Camille Okechukwu ‘08

Myung Faye Shin ‘08

Kiana Brede ‘09

Philip Young Kim ‘10

Regina Pritchett ‘09

Martha ?? ‘09

Apollo Emeka ‘09

Daniel Wu ‘10

Silvia Green ‘11

Matthew Broaddus ‘11

Jacob Bongers ‘11

DeCarlis Wilson ‘11

Jorge Rodriguez ‘11

Sarah Butler ‘12

Wanjiku Karanja ‘12

Daniel Rios ‘13

Nelly Chavez ‘12

Jennifer Escobar ‘12

Rikiesha Pierce ‘13

Jayme Tsutsuse ‘13

Evelyn Larios ‘13

Charnan Williams ‘13

Ashley Harlow ‘13

Monica Valencia ‘13

Jacob Flores ‘14

Kalena Giessler ‘14

Karissa Masciel ‘14

Jasmine Torres ‘14

Carrie Moore ‘15

Anneleise Azua ‘14

Adeel Mohammadi ‘14

Megan Nathan ‘14

Vivian Yan ‘14

Rachel Jones ‘15

Michael Fretwell ‘15

Jheanelle Garriques ‘15

Roxana Ontiveros ‘15

Maria Jose Plascencia ‘16

Georgia Soares ‘16

Luna White ‘15

Monica Barragan ‘17

Krystal Cervantes ‘17

Sophia Li ‘17

Felicia Reyes ‘17

Natalie Reyes ‘17

Sophia Singh ‘17

Miguel Tejeda ‘17

Moira Turner ‘17

Jacob Broussard ‘18

Sabrina Enriquez ‘18

Roberto Nazario ‘18

Natalie Solis ‘18

Azani Creeks ‘19

Alejandra Franco ‘19

Karen Kwon ‘19

Eva Molina ‘19

Kathy Pulupa ‘20

Samantha Kosai ‘20

Rosa Noriega-Rocha ‘21

Mary Carmen Fernandez ‘21

Jack (John Patrick) Casey ‘22

Catherine Denise Bedoya ‘20

Akande (Kameron Devon) McDowell ‘20

Guadalupe Mota ‘20

Chasia Elzina Jeffries ‘21

Breana Janae Norris ‘20