The Ronald E. McNair Grant is being renewed for another five years, offered to first-generation, low-income, under-represented students finishing their Bachelor’s degree while working toward gaining admission to Master’s and doctoral programs.
The program is named after Ronald McNair, a physicist, astronaut, and advocate of education who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.
However, for a university to either receive or keep its grant depends on many factors, such as the needs of the university for that grant. While the grant is very hard to get, it is equally hard to keep.
“The grant is very, very, very competitive,” Carmen McCallum, director of the McNair Scholars Program, said.
In addition to helping prepare students for their PhDs, the students need to know where their interest lies as well.
“Each person does their own project based on their research interest,” McCallum said. “This program is really trying to get individuals into Ph.D. programs. And so, what we are able to do is to expose them to what that may look like, and also the career opportunities that you can have with a Ph.D.”
Students also receive support from faculty mentors, especially in helping them work on either writing a research paper or an extensive literature review for a McNair Scholars Journal.
Additionally, students will often qualify for the grant without knowing it. They are encouraged to reach out and see if they are eligible by contacting Carmen McCallum or Assistant Director Kimberly Brown, who also meets with students regularly and offers guidance.
“We talk about all of those different topics so that when they get ready to go to graduate school they are well prepared for that aspect of it,” McCallum said.
The McNair Scholarship is currently recruiting both students and mentors. For more information, visit the programs website.