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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Money from Mays

Grinnell College received a $500,000 four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation this year to help initiate the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) at the College.

The Mellon Foundation created the MMUF in 1988 to “help remedy the serious shortage of faculty of color in higher education,” according to the Mellon Foundation website

“I think Grinnell was chosen in part because of their work towards diversity and achievement,” said English and faculty coordinator for MMUF Shanna Benjamin. “And because Grinnell is such an outstanding liberal arts college.”

The program is named for Benjamin Mays—an African American man who was a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and later became president of Morehouse College in Atlanta. It offers the opportunity for up to any five students in the second-year class to conduct independent research with a faculty member for two years.

“We identify students in the second semester of their second year, they are the kind of individuals that know where they want to go and have a clear sense what they want to do,” Benjamin said. “What we do is help them realize those goals.”

Additionally, the fellows will have many options to attend seminars, regional conferences, and summer research opportunities. According to Benjamin, after Grinnell, the fellows could receive extra grants for research, loan repayment, and other valuable resources.

“Once you are a Mellon you are always a Mellon,” Benjamin said. “Once you leave Grinnell, you will be part of a nationwide network of scholars and you will have support in the process of achieving a Ph.D.”

Students will be chosen based on a competitive application process that includes a cover page, two essays, and two letters of recommendation including one from a prospective mentor by the end of the month.

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