Pictures courtesy of Dr. Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper and the UNCF/Mellon Programs Office.


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We are most happy to share information with you about the exciting suite of Programs offered to UNCF undergraduates and faculty through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. Scholars Transforming the Academy is the slogan that describes the work of the UNCF/Mellon Programs.  This slogan is operationalized through a variety of undergraduate and faculty programs. 

We hope that you will find a program that interests you and that you will be able to join us as we work with others within the Mellon Mays family of Programs to Transform the Academy.


Cynthia Neal Spence, Ph.D.
Director, UNCF/Mellon Programs

Too Heavy for Your Pocket

A Play by the Winner of the 2017 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and UNCF/Mellon Fellow, Morehouse College C'12, Jireh Breon Holder!

In rural Tennessee at the height of the Civil Rights Movement two young couples struggle to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. When Bowzie gets a scholarship to attend Fisk University, he has the opportunity to improve his family’s life. His education goes beyond the classroom, as he becomes a Freedom Rider and joins the fight against racism in the Deep South, leaving his obligations as a husband and friend behind.

Please click here for more information and to purchase tickets!


The Fall 2016 Newsletter is here! Please click here to access a copy and read about the many accomplishments of our UNCF/Mellon Fellows and Faculty.


Howard Rambsy II, Ph.D., has been promoted to Full Professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville!

Shanna Greene Benjamin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English at Grinnell College, will begin an appointment as an Associate Dean of the College in January, 2017!

Jericho Brown, Ph.D. has been awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, which will allow him to work on a new book, entitled "Character." The collection of poems will focus on society’s obsession with celebrity and will be written in the voices of people from literature, the visual arts and film.


Kalenda Eaton, Ph.D. has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Research Chair in Society and Culture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she will explore the relationship between the African/Black Canadian subject, citizenship, and “the politics of belonging” in the Canadian space.

UNCF/Mellon Fellows! Please click on the "Students" tab above to access tips on writing the statement of purpose/personal statement!

Upcoming Events

2017 UNCF/Mellon Summer Institute- June 1-30, 2017

2017 Mellon Faculty Seminar, New York City- July 6-14, 2017


Application deadline for UNCF/Mellon Programs applications, with the exception of the Faculty Seminar application- January 31, 2017

Application deadline for the Mellon Faculty Seminar application- March 10, 2017

News & Info

Rami Blair (Morehouse College C’16) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. He will conduct research at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago

Da'Von Anthony Boyd (Morehouse College C’17) was awarded the Beinecke Scholarship for Fall 2017.

Lindsey Burgess (Spelman College C’16) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. She will serve as an English Teaching Assistant at University Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco

Na'eemah Webb (Ph.D. candidate, Purdue University; Lane College C’12) won third place in the National Council of Black Studies graduate student essay contest, for her essay entitled, " Prison Nation: Lies, Corporate-ties, and the Pursuit of Profit”.

Lisa Young (Ph.D. Candidate, Purdue University; Claflin University C’10) was awarded a 2016 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and also a Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Newly Minted Ph.D.s!

Dr. Christina McIntosh, Spelman College UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'08 is a Ph.D. graduate of Harvard University!

Dr. Calista Kelly, Paine College UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'07 is a Ph.D. graduate of Claremont Graduate University! She is currently the Assistant Director of Annual Giving for the Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Lauren Eldridge, Spelman College UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'10 is a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Chicago!

Dr. Sabine Cadeau, Xavier University UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'01 is a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Chicago! She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rutgers University Center for Historical Analysis.

Dr. Jameliah Shorter-Bourhanou, Paine College UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'09 is a Ph.D. graduate of Pennsylvania State University! She is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgia College.

Dr. Frederick Staidum, Dillard University UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'05 is a Ph.D. graduate of Northwestern University! He is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Muhlenberg College.

Dr. Brandy Thomas Wells, Paine College UNCF/Mellon Fellow, C'08 is a Ph.D. graduate of Ohio State University! She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Augusta University.