Minority students will continue to have an extra incentive to pursue careers in academia due to the renewal of Harvard's Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program last Monday.
The Mellon grant, which was created in 1989, offers a two-year, $6,600 stipend to fund student projects ranging from faculty-assisted research to outside internships.
Students are chosen based on their "academic performance and...interest in pursuing graduate study toward the Ph.D.," according to a Mellon fellowship application. Harvard annually awards up to 15 fellowships.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced that it will renew Harvard's Mellon grant until 2001, "in recognition of the continued need for diversity on college and university campuses."
Administrators were grateful for the renewal.
"We're thrilled that the fellowships are being continued," said Martha H. Homer, director of student employment. "It really enriches the academic lives of the students."
Homer said that the stipend grants students the ability to offer their services without concern of wages.
"Most professors are thrilled to have interested students that receive research stipends approach them," Homer said. "As a result, it's a wonderful way for the students to get to know the professors and their projects, and ultimately [to] create their own."
Fellowship recipients were equally enthusiastic about the program.
Laurie R. Santos '97 said that the program shaped her undergraduate career and that she couldn't have done research for her senior thesis without the stipend.
Santos, a concentrator in the Mind, Brain and Behavior initiative, said that she plans to pursue graduate work in neuroscience.
"I'm applying to eight different Ph.D. programs," Santos said. "I'm really excited."
Nester Q. Clark '98, another fellowship recipient, said that the program required him to be organized and motivated him to search out thesis opportunities at an early stage.
"I could not have pursued my research to the same extent without the grant program," said Clark, a concentrator in East Asian Studies and religion. "I absolutely recommend students to apply."
Harvard's Mellon Program has achieved significant success. Fourteen of its 25 Mellon Fellows are now in doctoral programs, according to a news release from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
"We are determined to build on the progress that has been made in recent years in encouraging minority students to pursue academic careers," President Neil L. Rudenstine said in the release. "The Mellon Program has played a vital role in these efforts."
Applications for this year's Mellon Fellowship Program are due March 21 and can be found in the Student Employment Office in Byerly Hall.