Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. The program includes 48 member schools and consortia, including three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities within the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) membership.

As of 2021, over 6000 students have been selected as fellows, more than 1000 of whom have earned their Ph.D. and over 190 of whom are now tenured faculty members. The great majority of those who have completed the Ph.D. hold or have held an appointment in the academy.

Cal State LA is proud to be one of five CSU campuses—including CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, and CSU San Bernardino—that houses the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.


Program Description

During the academic year, students will attend bi-weekly meetings that would support various aspects of the Fellows’ personal and professional development and would expand upon topics introduced during the CSU MMUF Consortium Summer Experience and Cal State LA Humanities Summer Scholars Program, including “applying to graduate school,” “effective public speaking,” “examining the grad school application process.” Bi-weekly meetings would also address the research project process.

During the summer, students will participate in a consortium program with the five CSU MMUF campuses.  This program will introduce new fellows to academic humanities and help them develop their research projects with the support of a faculty mentor. 

  • $4000 term stipends for each year in the program (2 years)
  • $4500 summer stipends to conduct research with a faculty mentor (2 years)
  • $600 travel stipends for travel-related expenses (2 years)
  • $400 research stipend for research-related expenses
  • GRE preparation
  • Up to $10,000 repayment in undergraduate/graduate student loans, once entered into a Ph.D. program
  • Guest lectures and social/cultural activities throughout the year
  • Ongoing professional advising and moral support MMUF fellows benefit most from continuing their studies with other students moving toward similar goals, including MMUF fellows at other institutions, creating a local, regional, and national cohort and support system.

Cal State LA MMUF applicants should have a

  1. Minimum 3.2 GPA at the time of application, be on track to complete 48-60 semester units by the end of their second (sophomore) year/fourth semester.
  2. Sophomore or Junior standing

Selection Criteria

Applicants would be selected for Cal State LA’s MMUF Program based on the following criteria:

  • Academic promise (e.g., GPA, recommendation letters, essay);
  • Potential for a faculty career in academia in core Mellon fields of study, particularly in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences;
  • Contribution to diversity in their designated fields of study;
  • Demonstrated commitment to understanding the barriers faced by underrepresented minorities, breaking down stereotypes, and increasing understanding across racial and ethnic groups;
  • Willingness to consider graduate school in MMUF-approved humanities-based disciplines;
  • Commitment to participating fully and enthusiastically in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences, meetings, and activities; and
  • Status as a US citizen, permanent resident, as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or undocumented status.

  1. A 500-word personal essay describing interest in one of the MMUF-approved disciplines, potential
    career goals/interests in the professoriate, how the MMUF Program would be integral to their life
    history and academic goals, and what they hope to achieve in the program. This essay can be submitted through the "Apply Now" tab below.
  2. One letter of recommendation from a college or university faculty member who can document
    academic potential. The letter-writer should send their recommendation directly to [email protected].

The application portal for the 2024-25 academic year is now closed.  Thank you.

2024 Information Sessions

Information sessions will be held on the following dates on zoom:

Tuesday, February 13, at 2:00 pm 

Meeting ID: 863 8405 6213

Wednesday, February 14, at 3:00 pm 

Meeting ID: 879 0624 0690

Monday, March 11, at 2:00 pm 

Meeting ID: 883 3310 0551

Tuesday March 12, at 4:00 pm

Meeting ID: 812 6633 9799


Can’t make any of these sessions? Contact Dr. Wild ([email protected]) to discuss

The MMUF Program

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship students and instructor sitting across from each other

MMUF fellows benefit most from continuing their studies with other students moving toward similar goals, including MMUF fellows at other institutions, creating a local, regional, and national cohort and support system.  All students are welcome to apply to the MMUF Program.  Applications are particularly encouraged from African Americans, Chicana/os,/Latina/os, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and members of other underrepresented groups in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

MMUF Fellows 2023-24

Each year, four new MMUF fellows are selected.  These newly selected cohorts of fellows join the previously selected cohorts of rising and graduating senior fellows, where they are provided with mentoring and financial support as they prepare for entry into Ph.D. programs and eventual careers as scholars and faculty members.

Jarenni Ambriz is an Asian/Asian American Studies major with an Anthropology minor. Her experience living in Mexico sparked an interest in cross-national studies, specifically in the power dynamics across empires. Her passion for music, specifically Metal, has welded her research interests in media imperialism, the music industry, and Metal studies scholarship. Her MMUF project explores the power relationships in the music industry through the analysis of local Metal bands in Southern California in attempt to identify the experiences of Metal musicians who are at the lower ends of the industry hierarchy. She plans to obtain a PhD and expand her current research into a cross-national setting in order to explore contemporary imperialist practices.

Giovanna Calderon is a first-generation student who is majoring in Chicana (o) and Latina (o) Studies. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and grew up in Boyle Heights. Her research examines how organizations have boosted businesses as an avenue to community. After graduating from Cal State LA, Giovanna plans to pursue a doctorate. Receiving a Ph.D. will further her goal of building inclusive academic institutions.

Jeanette Calderon

Jeanette Calderon was raised in Boyle Heights for most of her life. She is currently pursuing a major in History and a minor in Asian American Studies. Her academic pursuits align with her interest in the exploration of bilingual education and its effects on the Mexican-American community during the 1970s-1990s in California. She became interested in this topic after observing the multifaceted ways in which individuals in her community engage with their heritage languages. Jeanette hopes to help record the historical struggles of her community and aspires to help first-generation students like herself. 

Haley Castello

Haley Castello is a proud commuter, transfer, and first-generation college student who completed her minor in Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies and will receive her B.A. in History. She utilizes her interdisciplinary skills and intersectionality to pursue research for her Mellon Mays project in the San Gabriel Valley and specifically the city of Baldwin Park. Drawing on her experiences with displacement and eviction,  her life of displacement from evictions, she critiques modernity, capitalism, and colonialism in the suburbs while centering ethnic community healing and resistance. Her research explores the conversations, attitudes, and emotions of daily-life residents from the 19th century onward, through close reading of archival material to dissect contemporary gentrification. Haley has experience in union leadership, grassroots organizing, and teaching. She plans to become a community college professor where she hopes to disrupt traditional academic standards and incorporate decolonial wellness into her teaching.  


Kimberly Conde is a first-generation student and a political science major. Her experience in the Summer Bridge Summer Program at Cal State LA sparked her interest in how first-generation students use navigational capital tools in higher education. Her research the impact of various peer mentoring models on the success of first-generation Latinx students. Kimberly hopes that her scholarship and academic training will illuminate social-academic issues that affect first-generation Latinx students.

Woman with dark brown hair wearing glasses and a white sweater

Tania Galvez is an Anthropology major with a minor in Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  Her research focuses on women’s health, particularly regarding healthcare access, in cross-cultural contexts.  Her interest in the topic was aroused during familial visits to her mother’s family in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico where medical facilities in the small town are limited. More recently, she has undertaken a research project that explores the temporal aspect of women’s health.  Utilizing pre-Columbian pelvises from several dozen individuals recovered from a Maya cave, Tania will determine if women were at greater risk of suffering from osteoporosis than men in this sample dated to the ninth and tenth centuries.

Woman with dark hair wearing a black top

Karina Gutierrez is currently a History major with a minor in Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies. As a first-generation Mexican American college student, she wants to understand how immigration law and policies between the U.S – Mexico impact communities. Her current research explores how different organizations have advocated for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire. In her free time, she provides resources and guidance to people in her community on their path to citizenship. In the future, she hopes to become a professor to not only mentor other Latinx students, but to also combine academic work with organizing to give back to her community.

Berto Hernandez Mendez

Berto Hernandez Mendez is a Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Major. Their research project focuses on the impact of ICE detention on undocumented gender-variant folks. Berto’s interest in the topic emerged after they experienced firsthand the harmful effects of ICE detention as a queer person of color. They approach their work through an abolitionist lens, centering the humanity and the dignity of people who are experiencing detention through punitive systems. Berto is an organizer and advocate with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, working with people currently detained at ICE facilities to provide them and their families with resources to achieve their liberation. They work with various communities to build solidarity and collective power.

MMUF Alumni


  • Hazel Carias-Urbina (Archivist, Southern California Library)
  • Mary Jay Villaciencio (City Year Student Success Coach)
  • Shahar Wakan (Cal State LA BA in Anthropology)
  • Dana Yassin (M.A. Program in Comparative Politics, London School of Economics)


  • Crisdel Aguila (Equity Intern, Walt Disney Corporation)
  • Meagan Domingo (Cal State LA B.A in Communication Studies)


  • Laura Pineda (M.A. Program in Counseling, California Baptist University)


  • Abigail Calderon (Ph.D. Program in History at Yale University)
  • Yadira Inez Tellechea (M.A. Program in Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Cal State LA and Graduate Student Coordinator, Cal State LA MMUF)


  • Joselin Castillo (Ph.D. Program in Latin American Studies at University of New Mexico)
  • Michelle Ceja (M.A. Program in Anthropology at Cal State LA)
  • Janette Gill (Nursing Program at Mt. Saint Mary's University)
  • Nancy Flores (Ph.D. Program in Sociology at University of New Mexico)

Contact Us

MMUF at Cal State LA Faculty Coordinator:
Mark Wild, Ph.D.
Professor of History
[email protected]