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Summer Research Fellowships

Distinctive Features of the Mellon Scholars Summer Program:

To provide financial and intellectual support for students to undertake a substantial scholarly project developed with a faculty mentor in-residence during the summer, typically between their junior and senior years, though sophomores may apply. The Summer Program strongly encourages and gives priority to team projects consisting of 2-4 students and projects that engage the Digital Liberal Arts. Unlike other research grants at Hope College, the student’s research agenda rather than the faculty member’s drives the Mellon Summer Fellowship. Mellon Scholars and their faculty mentors are expected to participate in the lunches and presentation venues for summer scholars that are sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Division. The summer project should produce results that can be presented by the end of the summer, and, in some cases, it may become the basis for a more ambitious junior or senior project. For rising seniors the summer research fellowship may be an opportunity to extend or refine a project that may serve as a sample of their research capabilities in applications to graduate programs.


Students should start developing project ideas with their faculty mentor as early as December or January.  Students are strongly encouraged to submit the proposal jointly with the faculty mentor to the Program Associate Director by the middle of February for the possibility to revise and resubmit the proposal before it is considered by the Mellon Committee, which makes the final decisions.  All proposals must be submitted jointly with the faculty mentor to the Director of the Summer Research Program by the Thursday beginning Spring Break for consideration by the Mellon Committee.  Applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by the beginning of April.The application should include the following elements:
  1. Description of Goals of project, including form the final project will take
  2. Plan of action, organized by weeks
  3. The integration of technology, as appropriate
  4. Preparation for the project
  5. A plan for dissemination (Summer Showcase and CUR are required dissemination outlets)
  6. The relevance of the project to the student’s academic program and professional plans
  7. Budget, including hours to be worked and related expenses
The application should also include letters of support from the proposed faculty mentor and one other faculty member. The faculty mentor’s letter should assess the quality of the student’s application proposal (i.e., the value of the project, the feasibility of the work plan, and the student’s preparation for the project). The faculty mentor’s letter also should state how the project would relate to the mentor’s other summer activities and funding. Preference will be given to projects that integrate technology and enable online dissemination of results.

Funding Details and Expectations:

  1. Normally, the term of the funding is defined as 4 weeks for rising juniors and 8 weeks for rising seniors, though other arrangements may be proposed. The Mellon Scholars Program encourages faculty mentors and students to think creatively about how they might make use of support for mentoring and research during the summer.
  2. The total support for students may not exceed $4,000 and for faculty mentors may not exceed $1,000.
  3. The Mellon Scholars Committee need not allocate all summer fellowship funding if there is a shortage of appropriate projects; remaining funds may be held in reserve for subsequent summer fellowships, research-related travel and conferences for students, and funding for needed technology.
  4. Normally, Mellon Summer Fellows (students) are funded at a rate of $350 per 40-hour week ($8.75 per hour), plus expenses approved in advance by the Mellon Scholars Committee (or by the faculty mentor and director during the summer). The rate of funding is subject to adjustment according to institutional norms for student compensation.
  5. Mellon Summer Fellows may not undertake other employment, including service funded by Nyenhuis faculty-student collaborative grants, during the term of the project.
  6. Mellon Summer Fellows receive a 50% housing discount, subsidized by Hope College, during the term of the research project. Students are responsible for the other 50%.
  7. During the term of the fellowship, Summer Fellows and Faculty Mentors are expected to attend at least half of the Summer Research Mentoring Lunches and the Summer Research Showcase normally held at the beginning of the fall semester.
  8. Completed summer research projects will be placed in the student’s electronic portfolio for the Mellon Scholars Program and in the institutional repository for faculty and student research. The most successful digital projects will be showcased on the program’s Website.
  9. Students and faculty mentors will complete the “Research Project Self Assessment and Faculty Self-Assessment of Student Work” at the end of the fellowship.
  10. Faculty mentors are compensated at a rate of $125 per week of involvement in the fellowship up to a maximum compensation of $1,000). They are expected to be available for individual meetings on a weekly basis and to provide timely support and feedback on projects. Faculty mentors are expected to be available locally for at least half of the term of the grant. Stipends are divided for shared mentoring arrangements (e.g. two mentors for one month provides a $250 stipend for each mentor). Mentor compensation is authorized after the student’s presentation at the Summer Research Showcase and submission of all promised deliverables.  Without prior authorization by the director, non-completion of a satisfactory presentation and deliverables by the end of the fall add/drop period concludes the student’s eligibility for additional support from the program.
Please direct any questions about Mellon Scholars Summer Research to the Director of the Program.