Mellon Summer Scholars Program (MSS)

The Mellon Summer Scholar program is Faculty-mentored student research conducted during the summer before a student's sophomore, junior, or senior year.  Preference is given to projects in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and to those that are interdisciplinary in nature.

Information Session
Thursday, December 3
4:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.
Penn Hall 2A

Type of Projects Supported:

  • Faculty-mentored student research during the summer before a student's sophomore, junior, or senior year.
  • Preference will be given to projects in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and to those that are interdisciplinary in nature.
  • The research project must be connected to the student's on-going program of study. It can be the beginning of a senior capstone project, or it can complete a project begun in an earlier course or course cluster.
  • Summer scholars receive a stipend of $3500 and an additional $500 is available to defray the costs of project-related expenses. Campus housing for the duration of the program is free.
  • Faculty mentors receive a stipend of $1000.
  • Mellon Summer Scholars are expected to attend and participate in the luncheon meetings scheduled during the 10-week summer program unless project-related activities require them to be elsewhere with their mentors.
  • All supported projects must be compliant with the College's ethical review policies. If the research design employs the use of human subjects, the online protocol must be submitted to the IRB for review, along with certificate of CitiProgram training completion, no later than Monday, April 13, 2016.

Who May Apply:

  • Current first-years, sophomores or juniors, in partnership with their faculty mentors.

Deadline for Application:

  • The deadline for summer 2016 is Friday, February 12, 2016.

How to Apply: 

1. All applicants must first fill out and submit the online form which provides the selection committee with some initial information about the applicant and serves as a cover sheet for the application. Once the form has been submitted, applicants will be taken to a page explaining the next steps.

2. All applicants are required to submit the following materials in the order specified as a single pdf i.e., compress the individual files into one large file with MSS ’16 and the applicant's name in the subject line of the e-mail and as the file’s title:

  • A one-page resume
  • A three-page proposal (11 pt. font, double spaced) outlining the nature of the applicant's project. The proposal should include the intended goals to be accomplished, how specifically these goals will be met, how this particular project will contribute to the applicant's academic or artistic field, the research design and timetable s/he intends to employ, and a budget stating how the $3,500 plus $500 (if applicable) will be spent.
  • A brief explanation (not to exceed 1/2 page) of how the applicant sees his/her work using digitization. This can be a description of using computer imaging as an inherent part of the project e.g., using GIS to map locations and/or it can be a description of how the project can be stored and preserved in the library so future students may be able to access it for reference.
  • A one to two-page annotated bibliography so the committee can see what sources each applicant has read/consulted in developing his/her proposal and will continue to review during the summer.
  • A one-page personal academic statement in which the applicant outlines how the project is connected to his/her academic program and how this experience will help achieve his/her future educational and career goals. In particular, the committee is interested in learning what the applicant has done to prepare him or herself to undertake the project e.g., study of a language, related coursework, internship experience, etc.

In addition to the above materials, an official transcript must be sent hardcopy through campus mail to Maureen Forrestal, Box 410. Please arrange for this through the Registrar's Office. 

3. All applicants must secure an endorsement letter (mentor should submit this electronically to from the faculty member with whom s/he will be working. The letter should address not only the student’s preparedness to undertake the project but it’s applicability to his/her academic program. Mentors should also include the appropriateness of their academic backgrounds/expertise for supervising the student’s project and should provide a detailed plan for supervising the student in his/her work. In addition, the mentor must indicate a willingness to meet with the student regularly during the summer, preferably in person but certainly by e-mail or phone, if the mentor will be conducting research off-campus during the program dates. All of this must be indicated in the endorsement letter. Ideally, the Mellon Scholar would be able to join his/her mentor for part of the time. If the mentor’s work does not require long-distance travel, the mentor is expected to attend the luncheon meetings on campus and this should also be indicated in the letter.

Preference in selection will be given to those applications in which student and mentor will be able to spend most of the program together, engaged in the project.

All materials must be submitted to Maureen Forrestal no later than Friday, February 12, 2016.  This deadline includes endorsement letters and transcripts. Late submissions will not be considered.

Criteria for Selection

  1. The clarity of the proposal itself with regard to goals, objectives, and project design;
  2. The feasibility of the project given the applicant’s academic background, the project scope, and the time frame proposed;
  3. The faculty mentor’s endorsement of the project, the appropriateness of his/her background/expertise for supervision of the project, and the extent to which the project provides an opportunity for regular interaction between faculty mentor and the student;
  4. The quality of the ideas expressed i.e., the merit of the research itself;
  5. The likelihood of the project’s resulting in a paper, creative performance, or work of art, or other suitable outcome for presentation; and
  6. The strength of connection between the project and the applicant’s academic goals.       

In order to be considered for a Mellon summer research scholarship, you must have either sophomore or junior standing at the time of application and at least a 3.0 GPA.  The project proposal that you submit must be directly linked to your academic program and you must articulate this connection within your proposal. For example, you can begin or complete a research project linked to a course, a course cluster, or a specific interest related to your major or minor/concentration. Juniors might use their summer project to form the basis for a senior thesis or capstone. Preference will be given to projects in the humanities, arts, social sciences, Middle Eastern or Islamic Studies, and interdisciplinary projects. Students from science departments who do not have endowed funds for summer research are also eligible.

Please be aware that if you are selected to be a Mellon Summer Scholar you are expected to conduct the better part of the activities associated with your project on campus during the program period, May 23 - July 29, 2016. This is so you can participate in the luncheon meetings where all scholars and their mentors will exchange ideas, discuss their progress, and critique one another’s work. The intent of the Mellon grant is to create a community of scholars at Gettysburg so you need to be present in order to both contribute and benefit. There are obvious exceptions to this residency requirement. If your discipline is such that field work is an integral component e.g., an archaeological dig for an Anthropology major, being away from campus during the program is acceptable. If you are traveling with your mentor to do on-site data collection, that would be another example of an acceptable exception. If you’re in doubt, the best thing to do is to contact Maureen Forrestal (, Assistant Provost for Scholarship, to see if your project plans merit special consideration.

A summer stipend of $3,500 will be competitively awarded to ten students. This stipend, which will be paid in five bi-weekly installments during the course of the 10-week program, is intended to provide Scholars with a reasonable amount toward living expenses as you will be expected to pay your own everyday expenses, including food costs. Faculty mentors will receive a $1000 stipend for the summer. On-campus housing is provided for Scholars at no cost to them. In addition to the stipend, up to $500 will be available for expenses connected to your project.  Please keep the in mind the following: 1) Your stipend is considered income by the government and, although taxes will not be taken out of your payments during the summer, you or your parents will have to declare the sum as income when you/they file a return in April of the following year and 2) If your project includes overseas air travel, you must have enough personal funds or a credit card at the time you make your flight plans to reserve the ticket. The College cannot arrange for travel advances against your stipend.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact