The Mellon Initiative is currently accepting applications for the summer of 2023.


  1. Please read the Requirements for Mellon SURF Teams (below) to confirm your eligibility for the fellowship and your ability to fulfill the requirements.
  2. The Mellon SURF application is online and has two parts: a student component and a faculty component.
  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(s) and mentor should each complete and submit their respective component of the application by the deadline: 11:59 PM on Friday, February 10, 2023. 
  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 have a graduation date of December 2023 or later.
  • 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 participate in Mellon Initiative events, such as workshops and weekly lunches (during the summer). 
  • Must present their findings (to date) at the Trinity Summer Undergraduate Research Conference, which is held at the end of the summer research period.
  • Must turn in a final copy of the presentation for the Mellon Initiative archive.

Faculty Mentor Requirements

  • Can only serve on one research team.
  • Must agree to mentor the student for the entire summer research period.
  • Must plan to be in the same location as the student for most (if not all) of the summer research period.

Application Components

Faculty Application Components

  • Faculty mentor name, email, and University ID number
  • Project Title
  • Project Abstract (500 word limit): A description of the project that explains the significance of the project and its relationship to your research agenda.
  • Student Tasks (300 word limit): A detailed account of the tasks your student will complete during the research period. If 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. As a reminder, you should plan to be in the same location for most of the 10-week summer session.
  • Project Outcomes (150 word limit): 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): 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 GPAs if the faculty mentor thinks they will do well on the project.
  • Budget: Provide your project budget details and justification for any supplies you intend to purchase and any research-related summer travel you are planning.


  • A student stipend of $4,200 and a faculty stipend of $2,000 should be included in every budget. 
  • A $1,400 travel/supply budget is available for use by the student. Please provide details of how this will be 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 2023/2024 academic year.
  • Small equipment purchases are permitted ONLY if the tool is essential to the project and not otherwise available. 
  • The total budget should not exceed $7,600.

Student Application Components

  • Student name, email, University ID number, and other basic information
  • Student Transcript: Upload a PDF of your unofficial transcript from TigerPaws.
  • Project Abstract (200 word limit): A description of the project. Please work with your faculty mentor to write your abstract, and feel free to read some examples of abstracts.
  • Student Statement (300 word limit): 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): 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): Describe an academic experience where you had to overcome some obstacle or challenge.
  • Name and email 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 recommendation.
  • 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.
  • The letter of recommendation 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 by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 10, 2023.

Selection Criteria

The Mellon Steering Committee will evaluate the proposals holistically; however, certain factors help make a proposal stand out. The best applications explain clearly how the project contributes directly to the faculty mentor's research, demonstrate that the students are familiar with the project and have adequate background to contribute to the research, and include clearly defined project outcomes that have demonstrable benefit for both the student and the faculty member.