The Mellon Pathways Program is a new partnership between John Tyler Community College (Tyler), J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (Reynolds), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The program offers pathways, resources, and support for students who are completing their associate degree at Tyler or Reynolds and planning to transfer to VCU to complete their bachelor’s degree in the arts or humanities.
Students participating in the Mellon Pathways Program also have the opportunity to apply to become a Mellon Research Fellow, where they will receive a stipend to support conducting a research project in the humanities or arts with a faculty member and presenting their work at a year-end colloquium. Being a part of the Mellon Pathways Program provides students with access to resources and a support system to enhance their academic success. It also gives them an opportunity to save money on tuition by taking classes at the community college that count: count towards their degree, count in their future, and count for transfer.
The Pathways Program is open to students who plan to complete their associate degree at Tyler or Reynolds and then transfer to VCU for a bachelor’s degree and:
- are interested in one of the Pathways majors (African American Studies, Anthropology, Art History, English, Foreign Language, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, International Studies, Mass Communication, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Theatre, or who are undecided with interest in arts or humanities.)
- have completed 15 or fewer credits at time of declaration or have permission from the program director
- are able to attend half-day orientation in summer, fall or spring
Mellon Research Fellows are motivated Pathways Program students who work with a faculty member on their own research project in the arts or humanities, participate in a mentorship program, and present their work at an end-of-year banquet.
Students who have completed one semester in the Pathways Program are eligible to apply to be Mellon Research Fellows. Through an application process, students are selected as Mellon Research Fellows in spring, and matched with faculty mentors.
Mellon Research Fellows receive:
- preparation for upper-level university work, graduate school, and different career paths
- enhanced mentorship and advising
- a $5000 stipend for the school year
Featured Student Projects
Our first cohort of Mellon Research Fellows began in August 2020. These 18 students are pursuing a remarkable range of research topics, from studying Danish films to the physics of music, from teaching critical thinking through storytelling to psycholinguistics. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, we’ll be providing updates on our students’ projects, here and in our newsletter.
In Fall 2020, all of our events will be virtual. They will include performances by our students, discussions of documentaries and art events, and guest speakers. Stay tuned for descriptions, and check the calendar for the schedule and links.
In addition to Folio Cafés and panels, the Pathways Program hosts virtual events each week. These events are about different aspects of the arts and humanities, and are often generated by our students. Because of the pandemic, all of our programming is currently online. We have been very impressed by the student engagement in our virtual event discussions, but still look forward to resuming in-person events in 2021. Descriptions of upcoming events, as well as links to all current and previous events, can be accessed in our newsletter. You can find current and past newsletters in the
Our weekly events cover a range of interests and experiences. Check out a couple of our recent events here:
We invited our Pathways members to walk (virtually, of course) through the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Malmo, Sweden, and dozens of other far-flung cities to admire their street murals. Lively discussions followed the viewing of the vibrant stories by the local artists. Students were encouraged to compare and contrast different communities’ creative output, the intentions behind them, and the benefits the murals gave to the city. We also took time to talk about the history of Richmond’s street art culture, and invited local artists to the conversation to discuss their personal style and how it connects to the place they call home.
Ever wonder where your trash goes after you dispose of it? Sometimes it flows into the ocean, sometimes to floats into the air, and other times it finds itself in an art gallery. Pathways Program participants watched a short video about an artist-in-residence program located at the city dump in Portland, Oregon. We were joined by artist and professor, Cathy Lu, an alum of the Recology: GLEAN program. We had a fascinating discussion about the application process, the hard work while being at the dump, both physical and artistic, and the inspiration that one can get when asked to use just trash as their materials.
Many of our students have participated in the student-organized book group, which meets virtually (Check the calendar for upcoming meeting dates) to talk informally about the reading and related topics. We read John Carryrou’s Bad Blood this spring and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer this summer, and will be reading Tommy Orange’s There There this fall.
Download a PDF of the requirements for fall 2020.
All Pathways students meet with their transfer coach and/or transfer coordinator twice per semester for individualized advising. In addition, Pathways students who are receiving a stipend attend one event per week, such as a Folio Café, virtual event, or panel (take a look at our calendar here). Students not receiving a stipend meet with their transfer coach or coordinator and attend three events over the course of the semester.
Most of our Pathways Program students participate in the e-Portfolio element of the program. Through the e-Portfolio assignment, students focus on reflective writing and documentation, undertake individual pursuits, create a personal website to use in interviews and applications, practice presentation skills, and receive a stipend. Check out the e-Portfolios of three of our current students here:
Folio Cafés are an opportunity for students to discuss the e-Portfolio prompts and their reflections, and to talk about other aspects of the e-Portfolios. Folio Cafés are held multiple times per week. Check out our calendar for the schedule.
Current students can access their e-Portfolio accounts through
Current students can confirm their completion of program requirements on the Pathways Program Canvas site.