2021 Mellon SURF Application

The Mellon Initiative is currently accepting applications for the summer of 2021.


  1. The Mellon SURF application is now online and in two parts.
  2. Please read the Requirements for Mellon SURF Teams (below) to make sure that you will be able to fulfill the fellowship requirements.
  3. To complete the application, the faculty mentor and student(s) should meet to discuss the project and how they will fill out the application. Below you will find the Application Components so you know what is on the application and can create drafts to questions that require longer answers prior to filling out the online form. 
  4. The student and mentor should each complete and submit their component of the application by the deadline: 11:59 PM on Friday, February 12, 2021.
  5. After you have finished the online application, you will be taken to a screen where you can open a PDF of your completed part of the application. You should download the PDF to keep as a record. 

Requirements for Mellon SURF Teams

  • Student Requirements
    • Must commit to work full-time on the project for the entire summer research period and not take other coursework or have other employment.
    • Must present their findings (to date) at the Trinity Summer Undergraduate Research Conference to be held at the end of the summer research period.
    • Must participate in Mellon Initiative events, such as workshops and weekly lunches (during the summer).
    • Must turn in a final copy of the presentation for the Mellon Initiative archive.
    • Must have a graduation date of December 2021 or later.
  • Faculty Mentor Requirements 
    • Can only serve on one research team.
    • Must agree to mentor their student for the entire summer research period. 

Application Components

  • Faculty Application Components
    • Some basic information about the faculty mentor
    • Project Title
    • Project Abstract (500 word limit): Please provide a description of the project that includes the significance of the project and its relationship to your research agenda.
    • Student Tasks (300 word limit): Please provide a detailed account of the tasks your student will complete during the research
      period. In the event that the 2021 summer research period is held entirely (or partially) virtually, please indicate how you intend to carry out your project and what adjustments you would be able to make. If we are able to host the students on-campus during the summer research period and you will be in a different location than your student for any part of the summer, please indicate how long you will be in separate locations and how you intend to communicate with the student.
    • Project Outcomes (150 word limit): Please indicate the intended outcome of the project as a whole, as well as the intended outcome for the summer research period if the project extends beyond the summer. Include any presenting or publishing goals for your student.
    • Student Preparation and Qualifications (150 word limit): Please provide a statement that indicates how the student is prepared and qualified to participate in the project. Be sure to address any potential shortcomings (e.g., class year, low GPA, or lack of background coursework). Please note that the committee seriously considers students with low GPA's if the faculty mentor thinks they will do well on the project.
    • Budget: Please provide your project budget details and justification for any supplies you intend to purchase
      and any research-related summer travel (if allowed) you are planning. Note: 1) A student stipend of $4,200 and a faculty stipend of $2,000 should be included in every budget; 2) A $1,400 travel/supply budget is available for use by the student. Please provide details of how this will used during the summer research period. Any unused portions of this budget will be available for the student to present the results of their research at a conference during the 2021/2022 academic year; 3) Small equipment purchases are permitted ONLY if the tool is essential to the project and not otherwise available; 4) The total budget should not exceed $7,600.
  • Student Application Components
    • Some basic information about the student
    • Student Transcript (upload PDF of unofficial transcript from Tigerpaws)
    • Project Abstract (200 word limit): Please work with your faculty mentor to write the abstract. Read examples of abstracts
    • Student Statement (300 word limit): Please describe your motivation for participating in this summer project. Your statement should show that you have a good understanding of the project and should include your career goals, if applicable.
    • Student Qualifications (200 word limit): Please describe your qualifications for this specific project. Your answer should include any courses and other experiences that have prepared you to carry out the proposed research.
    • Challenge Question (300 word limit): Please describe an academic experience where you had to overcome some obstacle or challenge. 
    • Name and e-mail of faculty who has agreed to submit a letter of recommendation.
      • The student is responsible for finding a faculty member to write a short letter of recommentation.
      • The letter should come from a Trinity faculty member who knows the student’s academic work well but does not have to be from the discipline of the proposed project.
      • Cannot be from the faculty mentor.
      • Please make sure your letter writer is aware of the application deadline and have them email their letter directly to melloninitiative@trinity.edu by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 12, 2021.

Selection Criteria

The Mellon Steering Committee will look at proposals holistically; however, certain factors will make a proposal stand out. Projects should contribute directly to the faculty mentor's research, students should be familiar with the project and have adequate background to contribute to the research, and the project outcomes should be clearly defined and benefit both the student and the faculty member. 

Application Links

Questions? Contact Lauren Turek at lturek@trinity.edu