The Mellon Senior Forum is one of the special benefits of being a senior at Yale. It provides seniors an opportunity to present on their research, most often the topic of their senior essay. Everyone in attendance has the chance to learn what their fellow classmates are doing in that “other major” in an informal and convivial setting. The talks, generally 10-15 minutes in length, are about works in progress rather than a finished project — these works in progress make for some of the most interesting presentations, as questions from the audience can help the speaker crystallize their ideas.
Past talks have ranged from “Detecting Scintillation in Helium Gas: the Search for Dark Matter” to “‘Her Loose Amber Curls:’ Images of Ideal Victorian Women in Lady Audley’s Secret.” Students usually use PowerPoint, but some have presented short performances of plays or musical compositions.
The Forum meets about ten times a year, with four meetings in the fall semester and six to seven in the spring semester. In the past, the Forum has met on Monday nights at 5:45 pm for drinks, followed by dinner (catered by nearby restaurants). Three to four students present throughout the, evening and the event usually finishes by 8:00 pm. Many students have reported that the Mellon Forum is a highlight of their Yale experience, offering them the chance to engage in stimulating conversations and to strengthen their bond to Morse and to their fellow Morsels.