Four Cal State San Bernardino students have been selected for the 2020-21 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), a two-year program that provides financial support, research mentorship and assistance with graduate school applications, primarily for underrepresented students who intend to pursue a doctorate in the humanities. The main objective of the MMUF grant is to address, over time, the problem of underrepresentation in college and university faculties.

“The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is a highly competitive program that provides unique opportunities for students to engage in research and professional development activities as they prepare to apply for Ph.D. programs in the humanities,” said Ryan Keating, faculty coordinator of the Mellon Mays program and associate professor of history. “The process of selecting applicants is extremely difficult due in large part to the excellent work that our undergraduate students are engaged in here on campus.”

The selected MMUF students and their faculty mentors are:

Isabella Cantu, sociology
Hometown: Bloomington
Faculty mentor: Jose Munoz, associate professor, Department of Sociology
Proposed research topic: Educational challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis among minority students and faculty

Stepfanie Alfonso, communication studies
Hometown: Wrightwood
Faculty mentor: Julie Taylor, assistant professor, Department of Communication Studies
Proposed research topic: How Silence Shapes the Identity of a Pimp: A look into the hidden organization of America’s sex Industry

Johnathan Solomon, geography and global studies
Hometown: Fontana
Faculty mentor: Kevin Grisham, professor, Department of Geography and Global Studiea
Proposed research topic(s): The Sociocultural Impacts of Art and its Relevance to Climate Change; Translating Native American Culture into Modern Environmental Policy; Comparative Study on the Efficacy of Social Entrepreneurship to Alternative Entities in Areas of Climate Action

Xavier Resendez, history
Hometown: Chino Hills
Faculty mentor: Ryan Keating, associate professor, Department of History
Proposed research topic: Race and Racism in the Post-Civil War American West

“This cohort of fellows were selected as a result of their excellent academic performance and their thought-provoking research ideas,” Keating said. “I am thrilled to welcome them to this program and look forward to working with them and their faculty mentors over the next two years as they develop as scholars and thinkers here at CSUSB.”

In 2018, CSUSB officially became part of the first-ever, four-year, five-campus consortium grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which was given to local California State Universities (CSU) to establish the MMUF program.

The other universities in the consortium include Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Los Angeles, with the CSU Foundation as the primary grantee.

Applicants for the MMUF program at CSUSB are required to submit an essay, resume, unofficial transcript, two letters of recommendation, a faculty mentor form, and must be interviewed.

Chosen candidates will develop their research and other transferable skills, improve their understanding of what it means to be a faculty member, and prepare for the transition into a graduate program. They will be given the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills through various workshops, structured programming, faculty and peer mentoring, financial support, peer interactions, academic presentations, symposia and social events.

To learn more about the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program at CSUSB, visit the CSUSB MMUF webpage.

To learn more about The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, visit its website at