/ Mellon Initiatives

Resources for Students

close up of student working on rare bookThe Mellon Scholars Program emphasizes the public dissemination of research and preparedness for public speaking through participation in conferences. Conferences are a great way to meet other student researchers, hear about on-going research and practice sharing your work to a wider audience.

Mellon scholars are required to participate in the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope College and are strongly encouraged to participate in the National Conference of Undergraduate Research as well as discipline-specific conferences that feature undergraduate sessions. Faculty mentors can help students find appropriate conference opportunities.

Mellon Scholars Handbook 

Presenting at Conferences

The Celebration of Undergraduate Research

The Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance is held annually in the spring semester at Hope College. Hundreds of students from all areas of the college present posters outlining and describing their research. When relevant, students also have their work on iPads and other new media devices. The public and prospective students attend the CURCP, along with faculty and administrators. Students learn to describe and state the significance of their projects to the public. All Mellon scholars are expected to attend the CURCP every year unless they are participating in an off-campus program.

National Conference for Undergraduate Research

NCUR is an annual conference sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Held in a different city each year, students who are accepted travel together along with faculty and administrators from Hope College. The college makes all of the travel arrangements and pays for them on behalf of the students. The Mellon Scholars will pay for Mellon scholars’ meals while at the conference.

Applications are submitted through an online form in the fall semester. The deadline is in early December. In addition to the NCUR application form, students must fill out an internal Hope College form from the Dean of Arts and Humanities Office. Mellon Summer Research Fellows will automatically be forwarded information about registering for NCUR.

Summer Research Showcase

The Summer Research Showcase takes place at Maas Auditorium during the first week of the fall semester. Summer Research Fellows are required to present a poster demonstrating their summer research project.

Other Conferences and Opportunities

There are many other venues that a Mellon scholar should consider in bringing their work to a public audience. Posters on the Hill is an opportunity to present a research poster on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and is sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Mellon scholars are frequently selected to present papers at the Bill and Maura Reynolds Arts and Humanities Colloquium at Hope College, and have attended undergraduate conferences off campus such as the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities, an organization founded by Mellon scholar Taylor Mills ’17. Other places where Mellon scholars have presented work ranged from local institutions such as the Holland Museum to major professional conferences such as the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Digital Scholarship Best Practices

The core aspect of the Mellon Scholars Program is the individual and group projects that Mellon scholars complete under the close tutelage of their faculty mentors. These projects are done in the context of the program courses and in the summer fellowship program. Projects engage original research based on archival or fieldwork, and ideally will be published in a digital format. There should be a thoughtful balance between design, content and medium, and each web-based project should be intentionally organized for readability and usability. Mellon scholars are encouraged to use best practices in web management when publishing their research online. Students should comply with Hope College standards for Web Content Management (see sections 5 and 6), and W3C Standards for accessible web design

In order to streamline the platforms on which Mellon scholars learn and build their projects, the Mellon Scholars Program has web space through Reclaim Hosting. The Mellon Scholars Program will support projects with subdomain names under the program’s domain, hopedla.org. Under this domain, students may develop projects using Omeka, Wordpress and Scalar. Students are encouraged to apply to the director for a subdomain name. If a Mellon scholar chooses to host his or her own projects, or use an open source platform, she or he is strongly encouraged use best practices in choosing a platform and make arrangements to sustain the project in the future. Mellon scholars who host their own projects are strongly encouraged to use versions of Wordpress, Omeka or Scalar. 

Digital Liberal Arts Tools and Platforms
  • Miriam Posner’s blog offers a gallery of digital tools for all kinds of projects.
  • Omeka.net is an open source curation platform from George Mason University. Omeka.org is open source with more options but must be used on domain such as one hosted by Reclaim Hosting.
  • Wordpress is an open source or subscription platform for creating websites. Wordpress can also be used in a domain such as one hosted by Reclaim Hosting.
  • Scalar is an open source publishing platform developed by the University of California. USC will host at no charge Scalar projects in perpetuity. Scalar can also be used on a domain such as one hosted by Reclaim Hosting.
  • Reclaim Hosting is a company that provides web space to build websites using Wordpress, Omeka or Scalar projects. Students can purchase low-cost webspace.
  • Python is a programming language used for data and text analysis.
  • Open Refine is an open source data cleaning platform.
  • Palladio is an easy to use data visualization tool developed by Stanford University.
  • Tableau Public is a free data visualization tool.
Student Expectations

Projects submitted to the Mellon Scholars Program should represent the Mellon scholar’s best work. The program places great emphasis on excellence and high quality workmanship. Research projects should be the result of original, primary source investigations and/or fieldwork, and should present an interesting and relevant research question, answered by a well-defined thesis supported by clear evidence. The writing should be polished with great attention to the details of argumentation, documentation and language mechanics. Typically, projects submitted for a Mellon experience are about 20–25 pages in length, or represent at least 150 hours of work. All projects will be evaluated for impact, intended audience, originality and excellence in content, form and interpretation. 

In the creative arts, performances such as recitals, one-act productions, or a body of work and portfolio should be of high skill commensurate with the standards of the discipline and demonstrate the formation, organization and development of an idea, ideally based on primary source research and/or field work. Students should work with their faculty mentor in developing criteria for evaluation that is consistent with accepted standards in the field and/or medium in which it is produced.

Digital and new media projects should demonstrate sound technical skills commensurate to the tools being employed and should appear “complete” (e.g. without non-functioning hyperlinks, etc.) in addition to the criteria listed above regarding research, writing and argumentation. Students should work with their faculty mentor and Mellon Digital Liberal Arts Fellow in developing criteria for evaluation that is consistent with accepted standards in the field and/or medium in which it is produced. Each project should relate to other digital scholarship projects in the Mellon scholar’s field, and should make a clear case for the digital method being used. 

Throughout my time as a Mellon scholar some of my most rewarding experiences have been at conferences or seminars where I have gotten to share my research. The opportunity to present either through oral or poster presentation gave me a chance to test out my ideas and facilitate conversation about topics I was interested in.

—Claire Trivax