The McNair Program
The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program was initiated by the US Department of Education in 1989. Authorized under the Federal TRIO Programs, the program has grown nationally, and currently serves thousands of students. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was one of the first of fourteen universities in the country to receive funding for this program.
The purpose of the McNair Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds who enter graduate studies leading to the doctorate. At least two-thirds of the students must be low-income individuals who are first-generation college students; the remaining participants must be from a group that is underrepresented in graduate education. Students must also agree to participate in program activities during the academic year and summer.
The McNair Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides tutoring, academic advising, and career counseling for juniors and seniors during the academic year. Eligible students are provided workshops that emphasize library research, writing, and computer skills; selected juniors and seniors receive research internships and stipends, primarily during the summer. During the internship, each student is paired with a faculty mentor and receives individualized attention in completing a research project. A total of 15 internships is offered each year. The program is open to students in any major discipline.
To further expose students to academia, McNair provides travel to conferences, graduate schools, professional meetings, and forums, where mentors and students present research findings. In addition, the program assists students in finding avenues for publishing.
Students who are selected for participation in the McNair Achievement Program are called McNair Scholars. General eligibility criteria for program entry require that a student must:
- Be a first generation college student (neither parent has received a four year bachelor's degree)
- Come from a low income family as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or
- Be a minority (African American, Hispanic, or Native American)
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Be classified as a UWM junior or senior
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
- Agree in writing to satisfy all program requirements
- Obtain two recommendations, one of which must be prepared by a faculty member
- Students are not allowed to work or attend classes during the summer internship without prior approval from the director.
Program Services and Activities
The McNair Achievement Program will benefit any student intent on pursuing a graduate degree. The program provides a support system designed to provide a smooth transition from the undergraduate experience to the graduate school setting. Listed here are some of the academic year services that McNair Scholars receive:
- Academic tutoring
- Career development
- Preparation for Graduate admissions tests
- Ongoing counseling and mentoring
- Travel opportunities
For more information on the McNair Program, contact Interim Director Donte McFadden.
Summer Research Internship
One of the major advantages of the McNair Achievement Program is the opportunity to conduct research with a faculty mentor. Students are initiated into scholarly activities of their chosen discipline, and faculty members are able to become familiar with the student's work. Thus the program provides a model of the student-major professor relationship that is crucial for success in graduate school.
Each year, fifteen participants are selected for summer research internships. Students receive a maximum $2,800 stipend for participation in internships, while faculty mentors receive $500 in support of the research project.
Summer research activities include:
- Seminars to provide skills on how to enter graduate school and obtain financial assistance.
- A speaker series featuring successful role models who have earned terminal degrees.
- Travel to graduate school forums, conferences or other graduate schools.
Summer 2013 McNair, Senior Scholars, and Summer Research Opportunities Programs
Deadline: February 8, 2013
About Ronald E. McNair
Ronald Ervin McNair, the second African American to fly in space, was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. In 1971, he received a bachelor's degree in physics, magna cum laude, from North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro). In 1976, he received his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ronald McNair was nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics; selected as one of thirty-five applicants from a pool of ten thousand for the astronaut program in 1978; received three honorary doctorates, a score of fellowships and commendations; achieved a black belt in karate; and was an accomplished saxophonist.
Ronald McNair died on January 28, 1986, in a fiery explosion nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean along with six other crew members aboard the space shuttle Challenger.