/ Mellon Initiatives

About the Program

Inspiring. Unique. Empowering.

The mission of the Mellon Scholars Program is to create a culture of research and production in the arts and humanities using digital tools to transform the career paths of students.

By providing resources, mentorship and equipment, the program supports students who want to follow their passions for the arts and humanities, while at the same time equipping them with high-demand training in web-based platforms, public speaking, critical thinking and project management.

The Mellon Scholars allows me to connect my love of biology with my passion for art by providing opportunities to integrate them for research and creative expression.

—Ellee Banaszak

The program’s centerpiece is the close faculty mentoring students receive as they develop and publish their research projects and creative works.

Students graduating from the program have high acceptance rates in graduate school and employment, due to their developed academic and communication skills geared to practical application and problem-solving.


Program Description

The Mellon Scholars Program is built upon a sequence of coursework focused on research, writing and media skills, as well as big-picture questions such as what it means to be a humanist and an artist in the 21st century. Students are trained in public speaking, grant writing and public scholarship. No prior digital skills are required for entering the program, only a desire to be part of a community of highly motivated and creative student scholars.

Program Goals

The goals of the Mellon Scholars Program are to:

  • Promote an individualized inquiry-into-research undergraduate experience in the arts and humanities
  • Train students in developing projects, conducting research and using digital tools
  • Prepare arts and humanities majors for a variety of career paths
  • Foster collaboration among fellow students and faculty mentors
  • Provide students with unique travel and presentation opportunities
Faculty Mentoring

Faculty mentoring is essential to the Mellon Scholars Program. Just as musicians develop their skills and musicianship in the context of private studio lessons, one-on-one with a master, the craft of research and the life of the scholar is cultivated most readily through the close mentorship between an experienced scholar and a student researcher.

Faculty mentors take students to archives and show them how to handle documents; mentors teach students how to shape a research question that can be answered by the available evidence; mentors encourage students to maintain perseverance and a “can-do” attitude through the messiness of the scholarly endeavor. Faculty mentors are models, guides, cheerleaders, and supporters.

Throughout their time in the Mellon Scholars Program, students choose faculty mentors (sometimes the same person, sometimes various faculty) to meet with them weekly to guide Mellon projects along.

The Mellon Scholars Program provided me with the time, money and mentorship that I needed to pursue my specific research interests independently. I am proud of the work that I have been able to produce because of Mellon’s instruction and resources, and I feel well-prepared for my future education.

—Rebecca Fox