Office of Minority Student Affairs
TRiO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, the second African American to fly in space, was born October 12, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. He graduated as valedictorian of Lake City's Carver High School in 1967. In 1971, he received his bachelor's degree in physics magna cum laude from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, and he earned a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976.
Dr. McNair was nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics. Selected for the astronaut program in 1978, he was the recipient of many honorary degrees, fellowships and commendations. He also was a sixth-degree black belt in karate and an accomplished saxophonist. He was married to Cheryl Moore and had two children, Reginald Erwin and Joy Cheray.
On January 28, 1986, Dr. McNair and six other astronauts died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff. The McNair Scholars program is named in his honor and memory.
"Before you can make a dream come true, you must first have one."
— Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D., Challenger astronaut, 1950-1986
Established on the campus in 1990, the UIUC TRiO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The program provides research, mentoring, advising, and graduate school preparation opportunities for eligible rising juniors and seniors to promote their academic excellence and pursuit of a PhD. TRiO McNair Scholars attend relevant workshops and seminars throughout the academic year, engage in a 10-week Summer Research Institute, and commit to preparing themselves for doctoral studies following the completion of undergraduate studies.
We envision a program in which all McNair Scholars achieve academic and personal success so they can become the next generation of scientists, researchers, and professors. We seek to empower scholars to believe that the vision they have for the world can be realized through their research and service efforts in the academy.
The mission of the program is to prepare participants to be the next generation of scientists, researchers, and professors through rigorous graduate school preparation, academic development, and research training.
Services are designed to: Support and encourage a high level of educational achievement for the remainder of the scholars’ undergraduate career as well as the graduate career. Introduce and develop scholars’ knowledge of the research process and various components of the process as related to their fields. Help scholars develop mentoring/advising relationships with university faculty and develop their network outside of the University of Illinois.Give scholars opportunities to develop their professional portfolios.Provide individualized attention to scholars to help them become competitive applicants for doctoral graduate programs across the U.S. and around the world.
Examples of services are:
Academic and Professional Development Workshops: Throughout the academic year, staff members assist scholars with graduate school preparation, GRE test-taking strategies, obtaining fellowships and scholarships, and other pertinent tasks to ensure the students’ success.
The 10-week Summer Research Institute (SRI): The capstone research experience for preparing students for research, graduate school, and doctoral study. TRiO McNair Scholars are matched with a research mentor within their research fields of interest who guide scholars’ research projects and prepare them for more advanced study. The scholars enrolled in the Institute receive college credit and work more than 30 hours each week on their research projects. Students also attend academic development seminars and/or colloquia each week. Scholars receive a $2800 stipend for participation.
Conferences & Campus Visits: TRiO McNair Scholars present their research at various annual conferences throughout the country. At past conferences, scholars have won top prizes for their presentations. Scholars also have the opportunity to visit top-ranked research institutions. Representatives from graduate schools provide seminars on campus resources, research opportunities, admissions and financial aid. Furthermore, scholars receive consideration for application fee waivers from graduate school programs across the country.
Given the legislative intent of the TRiO McNair Scholars Program, as a result of their McNair experiences, participants will be able to:
Distinguish between under graduate, graduate, and doctoral-level education;
Research and identify potential graduate programs in their field of study;
Research and identify potential sources of financial support for graduate study;
Develop a cogent research design;
Describe and present their research at national conferences and to varied audiences;
Describe and explain pathways and obstacles to the professoriate.
Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.
Currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at the U of I.
Must have completed freshman year.
Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 2.85.
Be (1) a first-generation university student who also meets the income level established by the U.S. Department of Education or (2) a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education (American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander).
Commitment to a career path in which a doctorate is required.
Willingness to participate in all McNair sponsored activities/events.
Potentially eligible students are invited to apply to the McNair program during the fall semester. The priority deadline is September 15 th.
Complete applications must include the following:An application form completed and submitted online via the following link: Application FormTwo letters of recommendation:Recommendation form
Financial Need Assessment & Documentation Form:Financial Documentation
All documents may be mailed to our office or scanned and emailed to the TRiO McNair Assistant Director at email@example.com.
TRiO McNair Scholars Program
Office of Minority Student Affairs
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
610 E. John Street; Suite 130
Champaign, IL 61822
Website : http://www.omsa.illinois.edu/gradprep/mcnair.html
TRIO McNair Scholars Journal
Spring 2013 Volume1
Wallace Southerland, III, Ph.D., University TRiO Director
Michelle Cruz-Santiago, Ph.D., Assistant Director, TRiO McNair Scholars Program
Rafiqah Mustafaa, M.Ed., Program Assistant, TRiO McNair Scholars Program