Research in Philly, By Way of Yale

The City of Brotherly Love. Cheesesteak Central. The Home of the Roots and the Fresh Prince. This summer, thanks to Yale and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, I am in the wonderful city of Philadelphia! I have been doing research at the University of Pennsylvania through the national Leadership Alliance program. With guidance from a faculty mentor in UPenn’s sociology department, I am working on research focused on community youth organizations and mentoring relationships that will lead into my senior thesis in Sociology this upcoming school year.

Between learning several skills related to performing qualitative and quantitative research, I have gotten the chance to try a few late night cheesesteaks and visit the beautiful art spaces throughout the city. All of this is possible because of the personal and financial support of Yale’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which has provided me with the funds and mentorship to help me prepare for a career in academia since my sophomore year. The fellowship is focused on assisting members of historically underrepresented groups enter the world of research and gain opportunities to pursue a PhD degree. I’m not the only blogger part of the fellowship; Jinchen is just joined it this year, continuing our blogger legacy (here at our annual Writing and Research Symposium)! 

Jinchen at the Symposium, holding back a laugh as she poses for a picture.

During the school year, I enjoy workshops, symposiums, GRE preparation, dinners and presentations with other great fellows who want to enter academia in a myriad of fields; astrophysics, cultural anthropology, psychology and comparative literature, just to name a few. Each summer, we gain funding to pursue research or work experience related to our fields so that we understand what it means to be a researcher and scholar in the real world. That has allowed me to do independent work and summer classes in New Haven last summer and an intensive research program this summer.

Classroom blackboard reading "#MMBSymposium"

Yale’s Mellon Mays Fellowship is just one of many ways that students (in STEM, social sciences or the humanities) can pursue research on topics that they care about deeply. The new Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration will soon be offering undergraduates summer research fellowships for students exploring topics in ethnic studies. In addition, the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) Program provides multi-year academic and research guidance for underrepresented students in various STEM fields. Yale wants its students to answer the questions that most excite them and will increasingly add more opportunities to do that in all corners of the school.

A group of students sitting around a large square table for a discussion.

I feel blessed to have Yale assisting me pursue a career that involves researching and teaching the issues in the social world that impact many people in my community and beyond. I am even more blessed because I can easily say that Yale helped me incorporate the steps from Rocky at the Philadelphia Museum of Art into my summer workout routine. I’m definitely feeling like a champ now. *The Eye of the Tiger slowly starts playing in the background*

Author Abdul standing with the Rocky Balboa statue, raising his arms trimphantly in imitation.