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Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Programme

Scholars transforming the Academy: Your Passport to Higher Education

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program is designed specifically to provide students with a greater awareness of what it means to be an academic. Each year, five students are selected as Mellon Undergraduate Fellows. They receive stipends for the academic terms and for a research project for two years. During the summers, Fellows, under the director of a faculty mentor pursue some form of directed study, intended to give them a sense of scholarly research activities. During the academic year, they may:

  •     continue their independent research;
  •     work as a research assistant on a project which the faculty mentor is currently pursuing; or
  •     work on curricular or teaching projects of interest to their faculty mentor.

In addition to the advantages of this close faculty interaction, Fellows also have regular opportunities for social and intellectual discourse with students and faculty from the range of fields supported by the program.

The Program has four main components:

  • Mentoring: Fellows receive personalised attention and advice from a faculty mentor and have regular interactions with the program co-ordinators.
  • Summer Research Support: Fellows receive support for a project during the summer in their undergraduate and honours years.
  • Term-time Stipends: Fellows are awarded a stipend each year for their continuing work with their faculty mentor.
  • Loan Repayment: If a Mellon Undergraduate Fellow enrols as a full-time student in a PhD program in a Mellon-identified discipline (see Eligibility) within two years of graduating from UCT, that a Fellow may have a portion of his or her undergraduate student loan repaid by the Mellon Foundation. One eighth of the indebtedness (up to a present maximum) in each of the first four years of study, and the remaining half of the total (up to a preset maximum) if the PhD is earned within six years after enrolment. Mellon Fellows who do not use this loan repayment allocation to repay undergraduate loans may use this benefit to repay designated educational loans for graduate study from recognised lenders.

Biography of Benjamin Elijah Mays

Mays, Benjamin Elijah (1 Aug. 1894 or 1895-28 Mar. 1984), educator, college president, and civil rights activist, was born near Rambo (now Epworth), South Carolina, the son of Hezekiah Mays and Louvenia Carter, tenant farmers who had been enslaved. Benjamin, the youngest of eight children, grew up in the rural South when whites segregated and disfranchised African Americans by law (he himself was not allowed to vote until 1945, when he was fifty-one years old). His first childhood memory was the 1898 Phoenix Riot in South Carolina where, he recalled, white vigilantes murdered his cousin.