Bowdoin Receives Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Award

Bowdoin continues to be a magnet for illustrious awards, with several major grants totaling more than $1.6 million awarded to faculty and programs at the College in recent months.

mellonmays2013Bowdoin has received $500,000 to support another four years of participation in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program, along with $116,000 for continued support of a summer exchange program with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Named in honor of Benjamin E. Mays (former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr.), MMUF was instituted by the Mellon Foundation to identify promising students from underrepresented minority groups and support them in becoming scholars, with the aim of increasing diversity among faculty in higher education across the nation. Bowdoin, one of 81 institutions working with the Mellon Foundation to offer the fellowship, has produced 91 Mellon Mays Fellows in its 22 years of participation in the program.

Up to five rising juniors are chosen annually and provided with structured programming, close faculty mentoring, support for research activities, and stipends as they pursue their studies at Bowdoin. “The objective of our program is to guide the new cohort of Mellon Fellows through the process of developing their identities as researchers,” said Rosemary Effiom, director of Bowdoin’s Office of Special Academic Programs. “It’s designed to support the fellows’ research and strengthen their academic profile as they prepare to apply to graduate school.”

Bowdoin's Mellon Mays Fellows, Summer 2013

Bowdoin’s Mellon Mays Fellows, Summer 2013

“The ultimate goal here is to continue to increase the number of eligible students who choose to pursue PhDs in MMUF fields,” Effiom said. Former Bowdoin MMUF fellows are currently pursuing PhD degrees in leading research universities such as Stanford, Columbia, and Princeton.

In addition to enrolling in graduate programs, Bowdoin’s previous MMUF graduates have earned prestigious national awards such as the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Morris K. Udall Scholarship, Fulbright ETA, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Fulbright ETS, National Security Agency Award, and U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

Effiom oversees the administration of Bowdoin’s MMUF program, located in Boody-Johnson House, with the help of program administrator Anne Clifford and guidance from a Faculty Advisory Committee consisting of distinguished senior faculty. Current committee members are Chuck Dorn (Education), Guy Mark Foster (English), H. Roy Partridge (Sociology), and Enrique Yepes (Romance Languages). Previous members are Mary Lou Zeeman (Mathematics), David Collings (English), James McCalla (Music), Craig McEwen (Sociology), and former Bowdoin MMUF faculty director Elizabeth Muther (English).

Bowdoin's Mellon Mays Fellows, Summer 2012

Bowdoin’s Mellon Mays Fellows, Summer 2012

The College’s MMUF program has flourished “because of the deep commitment of fellows, faculty, and staff, and the strong leadership of President Barry Mills and Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Judd,” Effiom said, adding that “the high quality of Bowdoin’s diverse student population has provided extraordinarily promising fellows.” Effiom commented that initiatives like the MMUF program “have contributed to the creation of a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community.”

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