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Honors College Student Fellowships: Reading

Honors College Fellowship

Reading Fellowships

"For year after year she encouraged him to read, to think for himself, and to admire wisdom, truth, and beauty.". 

(from Death Be Not Proud)

Name: Read an Author

Mentor: The student and the mentor must find each other.

Type: Reading

Name: Read an Author

Project Description: Required and should be stapled to the application. The student must identify the author and provide a list of books that will be read and discussed.

The Honors College will award one or more Read an Author Fellowships during fiscal year FY19. These awards will remain open until filled. Recipients will read and discuss a collection of books/readings written by a single author. The student must read these books with regular interaction and guidance from a mentor. The reading can be spread over time. All majors are welcome to apply.

Example Read an Author Fellowships that have been done are:

Ton Morrison William Shakespeare Thomas Hardy Charles Dickens
Ernest Hemmingway Tim O'Brien Plato Mark Twain

Name: Read a Theme

Mentor: The student and mentor must find each other.

Type: Reading

Name: Read A Theme

Title: Required and must be supplied by the student.

Project Description: Required and must be supplied by the student and attached to the application. It should identify the theme and list of books to be read.

Name: William R. Hersey Reading Shakespeare's Comedies Fellowship

This fellowship has already been awarded to Caitlin Leach for the 2018/2019 year.

Mentor:     The student and mentor must find each other. Maybe the Honors College can help you find one?

Type:          Reading

Name:        William R. Hersey Reading Shakespeare's Comedies Fellowship

Upon Professor William R. Hersey's passing in 2016, one person wrote: "I had Dr. Hersey for English at UML... Crime in Literature was the class and it changed my "dislike" of reading into one 20 years later that I so enjoy." Professor Hersey loved Shakespeare and Ted Williams. A trombone player and a believer in reading out loud, students and colleagues both loved him. He served as the head of the UMass Lowell English Department for many years. Through this fellowship, might Professor Hersey inspire you to invest your time, talent, and energy by reading  and presenting one Shakespeare Comedy per month for twelve consecutive months according to the schedule below.

William Shakespeare published seventeen comedies. On average it takes about four hours to read through a play once. It is expected that a student will need to read the play a second time, perhaps taking notes, as they prepare to present the play to whomever attends. It is also ok to watch the play as you read it too. Whatever works for you.

Professor William Hersey would have loved to have you retell these well-known short, multi-plot dramas. Break them down. Build them back up. And explain the story in public. A great experience for you. Transformational. Find the magic. Let it overtake you. 

Twelfth Night
The Tempest
The Merchant of Venice
Taming of the Shrew
Much Ado About Nothing
Midsummer Night's Dream
Comedy of Errors
Measure for Measure
Winter's Tale
Merry Wives of Windsor
Two Gentlemen of Verona

As You Like It

Presentations should occur in the Aristotle Room (O’Leary 300B1) and would typically be given the last week of the month. If it is not possible to present during the summer break months, the readings must continue, and the presentations should be made up as soon as possible.

To be eligible to receive this fellowship the Honors College Student must have an Honors Status of “OK”. Contact your Honors College Advisor if you are uncertain about your Honors Status.

To apply you need to find your mentor and submit a completed application -- but if you need help finding a mentor, ask the Honors College.

It is also possible to tweak this fellowship a bit if the mentor you found wishes to do so.

Name: American Nobel Laureates in Literature

This fellowship has been awarded to William Zouzas.


Mentor:                Michael Noltemeyer
​Email Address:


Type:                     Reading


Name:                  American Nobel Laureates in Literature


Seven novels, a short story, poems from two poets, and a play -- to say nothing of Bob Dylan. 


American Nobel Laureates in Literature:


  • Sinclair Lewis: Main Street
  • Eugene O'Neill: Long Day's Journey into Night
  • Pearl S. Buck: The Good Earth
  • William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
  • Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms
  • John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath
  • Saul Bellow: Henderson the Rain King
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer: "A Crown of Feathers"
  • Czeslaw Milosz: selected poems
  • Joseph Brodsky: selected poems
  • Toni Morrison: Beloved
  • Bob Dylan: selected songs

Name: R. Eugene Mellican Honors College Student Fellowship

Mentor:     The student and mentor should find each other, but the Honors College may be able to help.

Type:         Reading

Name:        R. Eugene Mellican Reading Fellowship

R. Eugene Mellican Honors College Reading Fellows are expected to read and to discuss the following Plato dialogues:

  • Euthyphro 
  • Apology 
  • Crito
  • Phaedo 
  • Meno
  • The Republic

Recipients must be supported by a faculty mentor who is expert in Plato. Engineering and Science students will be given preference, but all majors are welcome to apply.

Professor Eugene Mellican was the 3rd ever Director of the UMass Lowell Honors Program. He was part of a small group of faculty who stepped forward when the program was being created. He was one of two initial co-directors of the Honors Program back in 1995. A faculty member in the Philosophy Department, Gene loved to teach ethics to the engineers.

In FY16 we awarded three Mellican Fellowships, in FY17 we awarded two Mellican Fellowship, and in FY18 we awarded four Mellican fellowships.

In FY 19, we will award at least one R. Eugene Mellican Fellowship.

Fiscal Year Fellowship Recipient Fellowship Mentor  

Billy Somboune
Jamie Trimper
​James Wallace
John Raisbeck

John Kaag
​Aaron Shepherd
Thomas Hersey
Jose Mendoza
Aaron Shepherd
FY17 Mary Joens
Jonathan Roche
Thomas Hersey
Jose Mendoza
FY16 Sean Berube
​Nathan Blood
Alec Golas
Thomas Hersey
Jose Mendoza


Name: Balbir Singh Sihag Fellowship

Mentor:      To be identified by the student. The Honors College may be able to help.

Type:           Reading

Name:         Balbir Singh Sihag Fellowship

Who founded economics? If you ask westerners, they will proclaim it was Adam Smith when he wrote Wealth of Nations. But, if you ask Dr. Balbir Singh SIhag, he would say it was Kautilya. What a wonderful topic for an Honors Fellowship! Why not study the matter for yourself by closely reading Dr. Sihag's book - Kautilya: The True Founder of Economics and get passionate about reading Smith's Wealth of Nations. Find a mentor to work with on this. Make a public presentation of your findings. If you want to pursue this topic with a vengeance, the Honors College will buy you a copy of both books.

An ideal topic for an economics major. But, any major can engage. Why not? Breadth and depth. It is a matter of joy and focus. No need to be a senior. You could be joining UMass Lowell as a first year student.. No time like the present to take something on.

Name: Ancient Greek Thought, Literature, and Culture

Mentor:      Laura Barefield (English Dept)
Mentor:      Paul Keen ( History Dept)

This Honors College Student Fellowship challenges students to examine fundamental questions of society, art, politics, science, and life itself through the study of Greek literature and culture. Through a selection of texts drawn from the Classical Greek canon and beyond, the fellowship asks students to consider the ways in which Greek literature and culture—often considered, rightly or wrongly, as the origins of our own civilization—emerged as a unique (or not!) voice in the ancient world, and consider how the Greeks understood concepts such as citizenship, family, the state, and broader conceptions of history, science, and civilization. Above all, the project seeks to encourage students to consider their own world through the lens of the familiar, yet strange, worldview of the ancient Greeks.

Students will create a reading list with the help of a faculty mentor. Authors and topics may include, but are not limited to, the following suggestions:

  • Aeschylus
  • Aristophanes 
  • Aristotle
  • Euripides 
  • Herodotus 
  • Homeric Epic (Iliad and/or Odyssey)
  • Greek Mathematical Writers (e.g. Euclid, Archimedes)
  • Plato 
  • Pythagoras and Pre-Socratic Philosophy (e.g. Pythagoras, Democritus)
  • Greek Medical Writers (e.g. Galen and the Hippocratic Corpus)
  • Greek Lyric Poetry (e.g. Sappho, Archilochus, and Solon)
  • Sophocles
  • Thucydides
  • Polybius
  • Plutarch 
  • Art, Sculpture, Architecture (and other forms of material culture) to be identified and studied in consultation with the faculty mentor

A project focused on Greek science, for example, might read the poetry (yes, poetry) of Democritus, who theorized the atom in the fifth century BC, the scientific texts of Aristotle, and the mathematical texts of Euclid and Archimedes. Students wishing to work with ancient theater and/or myth could examine how different tragedians handled the Theban myths of Oedipus and his ever-exciting family, or the stories of Agamemnon (and his no-less exciting family) while considering modern adaptions and performances of these plays. Or, a project focusing on conceptions of democracy might drawn on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, the comic plays of Aristophanes, Plato’s Crito and the Republic, Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, and Aristotle’s Politics. Similar lists might be drawn up on topics concentrating on law, ethics, science fiction, economy, religion, technology, leadership, and war among other possibilities and permutations.

The project may also, in consultation with the faculty mentor, take on a cross-cultural perspective to draw on ancient texts from around the globe. For instance, a student wishing to study epic literature and expressions of divine power and order might be encouraged to draw on the Upanishads from Vedic literature, Gilgamesh and the Atrahasis (Akkadian texts from ancient Mesopotamia), and the Roman epic, the Aeneid. Students interested in the ways that cultures consider the past might read Herodotus (often described as the “Father of History,” but also the “Father of Lies”) alongside Egyptian, Hittite, and Khmer texts, while reading the Shangshu (an ancient Chinese historical text) and drawing on Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War and Polybius’ account of how the Romans conquered Greece to think about how we think about the past in a cultural context.

The reading can be spread across the entire academic year, including winter and spring breaks. 

Fiscal Year Student Recipient Fellowship Mentor
FY18 Matthew Ahern Paul Keen


Name: Canning Family Endowed Reading Fellowship

Mentor:                 Jim Canning
Email Contact:

Type:                      Reading

Name:                    Canning Family Endowed Reading Fellowship

Project Description: Student and Mentor will define a list of books.

At most one honors student will receive the Canning Family Endowed Reading Fellowship.

The table below identifies the five books to be read. In addition to reading these books, I may ask the recipient to view some videos. It is also possible that I would ask the student to read a small number of short essays. The student must agree to maintain a paper log of activity related to this fellowship, in a sense, this would be similar to keeping a reading-research notebook. Jim will show you what is expected. The student will agree to meet with Jim once per week at a regular time. Each meeting would last one hour. The student would drive the discussion. 

Jim will provide a reading schedule which roughly entails about 5 hours per week when classes are in session and 10 hours per week when classes are not in session. Jim would buy the books and the research log book.

Title Author
The Capitalist Manifesto Andrew Bernstein
The Communist Manifesto  Karl Marx and Frederick Engles
Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
Atlas Shrugged ( Part 1, first third of the book ) Ayn Rand
Animal Farm  George Orwell


Name: Three Books

Mentor: The student and the mentor must find each other. The Honors College may be helpful.

Type: Reading a Theme

Name: Three Must Books in Political Science

Distinguished lecturer and teacher, Professor Timothy Schutt from Kenyon College, declared in his Modern Scholar Series Lectures: Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans: Foundations of Western Civilization, that the three books all political science majors must read are:

  1. The Prince by Machiavelli
  2. The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
  3. Leviathon by Thomas Hobbes

In this fellowship, the recipient would do just that. Read, discuss, and present the material.

Name: Five Shakespeare Comedies

This is a $500 fellowship that requires the student to read, discuss, and present five Shakespeare Comedies according to the schedule given in the table below. The student will read and present one comedy per month for five consecutive months. Ideally, a student who has read 12 of the 17 comedies has an opportunity to finish off the whole lot.

Mentor:    To be found by the student. The Honors College will try to help.

Name:      Five Shakespeare Comedies
Type:        Reading An Author

All's Well That Ends Well
Love's Labour's Lost
Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Troilus and Cressida

All's Well That Ends Well
Love's Labour's Lost
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Troilus and Cressida
All's Well That Ends Well
Loves's Labour's Lost


Name: George Keller Hart Thoreau Reading Fellowship

Name: George Keller Hart Thoreau Reading Fellowship

Mentor: Student and mentor need to find each other. The Honors College might be able to help with this.

Type: Reading

Title:  After consultation with the mentor, the student should identify a title.

Description: After consultation with the mentor, the student should attached an appropriate project description that includes the list of items to be read.