Mellon Mays Program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is the centerpiece of the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's initiative to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. The MMUF at Howard University is administered by the Department of History on behalf of Howard University in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The selection committee named the inaugural five-member class during the 2018 Spring Semester. The fellowship is a two-year training, mentoring, and research program for undergraduates who plan to enter PhD programs en route to the professorate. The Howard University MMUF is currently the only independent Mellon Mays Fellowship at an HBCU.

About the MMUF Program

The fundamental objective of MMUF is to address, over time, the problem of underrepresentation in the academy at the level of college and university faculties. This goal can be achieved both by increasing the number of students from underrepresented minority groups (URM) who pursue PhDs and by supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students who may not come from traditional minority groups but have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF. The MMUF program is designed to encourage fellows to enter PhD programs that prepare students for professorial careers; it is not intended to support students who intend to go on to medical school, law school or other professional schools. For more information click here.

The Selection Process

The Howard University Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is open to rising juniors majoring in the humanities. See eligible fields of study. The annual selection process begins at the start of the Howard University Spring Semester. Information will be available on this website and from the eligible academic departments. The 2021 class of Fellows will be selected during the 2019 Spring Semester.

Howard University MMUF Class of 2020

Carmen Crusoe is an Africana studies and political science double-major who plans to earn a Ph.D. in Africana studies before pursuing professorship. Crusoe is also a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow to Cape Town, South Africa, where she is an advocate for increasing minority participation in study abroad to promote global citizenship and leadership. She says she’s thrilled to be supported by the foundation to fulfill her professional aspirations and will be an active participant in the mission to create equal access of opportunity for students of color.

Shalliejah Evans is double-majoring in political science and Spanish and currently serves as vice president of the Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Society. She recently returned from Costa Rica, where she spent a semester studying abroad. Originally from Atlanta, Evans says, as a first-generation college student, the MMUF has a special place in her heart for allowing her to work towards receiving a doctorate degree in Spanish. Evans says she’s simply laying the foundation for what’s to come and says, she has a lot more to achieve.

Aiesha Muhammad is an English major, double-minoring in playwriting and Latin. She found her love for theatre as a child, while a member of Philadelphia Youth Playwrights. She’s currently a Lannan Fellow and works as an editor for Howard University’s literary magazine, Sterling Notes. Aiesha’s primary research through the MMUF is centered on mythologies of epic narratives, the significance of the epic narratives in their modern portrayal of the human condition, and their relevance in the ongoing philosophical quest for meaning and context for human existence.

Jabril Murphy, a sociology major with emphasis on urban sociology and criminology, says his research on mass incarceration is very important to him, as a former inmate of the California prison system. Murphy came to Howard University from Los Angeles. He says the MMUF allows him an opportunity to purse a Ph.D. in urban sociology while examining causes and effects of disruptive social environments, and the resulting life choices. He’s particularly fond of digital humanities, which he says is useful for combining cultural analytics with visual presentations.

Marquis Taylor, a history major, double-minoring in sociology and political science, says Black people’s stories in this country have largely been distorted. That’s why he plans to pursue a Ph.D. program that will allow him to provide a nuanced analysis of African American social, civil and philanthropic organizations from 1865-1940. Currently serving as president of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council, Taylor will also be participating in the inaugural University of California-HBCU Internship in Archaeology program, in Haiti, this summer.