Program Overview

The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program and Summer Academy aim to provide specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States from diverse backgrounds.

The program takes place at five partnering institutions, each with a world-class, encyclopedic collection that represents the artistic production of human culture. The partnering museums include the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

2016 Mellon Summer Academy

The 2016 Mellon Summer Academy at the MFAH takes place June 5–11.

Have you ever wondered how exhibitions are created? Or what skills are necessary to work in a museum? Are you curious to learn more about what a curator does? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then apply to the Summer Academy!

The Summer Academy is a one-week intensive program consisting of:

• Behind-the-scenes art museum tours
• Workshops with art museum professionals
• Tours of exhibitions with MFAH curators
• Conversations with artists, art historians, and collectors
• Networking events with art museum professionals

Fifteen students are selected to participate in the 2016 Mellon Summer Academy at the MFAH. Accommodations, lunches, program supplies, and a per diem of $350 ($50/day) are provided to participating students. Upon completion of the Summer Academy, two participants are selected as Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows. For a preview of the exciting events and opportunities offered to students in the Mellon Summer Academy at the MFAH, see the 2015 Mellon Summer Academy agenda.

Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions or e-mail

Application Information

2016 Application Deadline
Friday, March 11

Please review the eligibility requirements and preferred qualification in Frequently Asked Questions.

Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows at the MFAH

Mellon Curatorial Fellows participate in a two-year program that provides hands-on experience inside a museum setting, such as working with curatorial mentors and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Mentors work with students to enrich the academic experience and to increase exposure to the museum environment while broadening the students’ understanding of art and art history. Designed as a series of ongoing summer internships at the museum, followed by continued engagement during the academic school year, the program provides curatorial mentors and a stipend to the fellows.

Jennifer Cernada is an art history major at Rice University in Houston. She is a first-generation American from Miami. Jennifer began her studies at Rice with the intent to major in biochemistry and cell biology, but an art history course during her first semester awakened her passion for art. As a freshman, Jennifer excelled in a graduate-level art history course titled “Latin American Bodies: On Modernism,” taught by Fabiola Lopez-Duran. Jennifer’s curatorial mentor is Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art.
Emilia Duno Emilia Duno attends Rice University and is majoring in art history, philosophy, and Latin American studies. Emilia had her first introduction to curatorial work as a high school intern in the film department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston under the supervision of Marian Luntz, curator of film and video. Following the 2014 Mellon Summer Academy, Emilia served as a research assistant at Sicardi Gallery and was awarded the John & Dominique de Menil Fellowship (2015–2016), which has provided her the opportunity to work in the Menil Collection under the guidance of the museum’s curatorial department. At Rice University, Emilia serves as the vice president for the Art History Club and as an internal vice chair of the Academic Honor Council (2013–present). Emilia’s interests in art history focus on Latin American art; she is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with the renowned MFAH collection of Latin American art as a Mellon Fellow under the guidance of her curatorial mentor, Mari Carmen Ramírez, The Wortham Curator of Latin American Art.
Mai Kolkailah attends the University of Houston, where she is majoring in art history with a minor in studio art. She moved to Houston after graduating high school from the B.B.C. International School in Cairo, Egypt. Her decision to study art history and studio art was cultivated by visiting artists’ studios and learning about diverse artistic techniques and styles. During her studies in Egypt, she visited artists who practiced traditional techniques for making papyrus paper and carving stones. Based on these experiences, Mai has a passion for sharing Egyptian history and culture through art, and volunteers to teach students about Egyptian art, history, and the Arabic alphabet at Black Elementary School in Aldine, Texas. Mai’s curatorial mentor is Aimée Froom, curator of the art of the Islamic worlds.
Adeleye Omotosho is majoring in art history at the University of Texas at Austin. As a first generation Nigerian-American of Yoruba heritage, he is dedicated to creating platforms for artists of color. At the University of Texas at Austin, he is an active member of Association of Black Fine Arts Students (ABFAS), and he has worked as a student research coordinator at the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas (CAAD). He has community experience assisting with museum programs at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, and he worked on an art exhibition organized by the La Tinaia Art Therapy Center in Florence, Italy. Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge, department of photography, is his curatorial mentor.


Read bios of the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows at all participating institutions.