We think of our work with each scholar as a holistic journey together. We get to
know our students really well and we support them in many ways. It goes beyond
academics, to be sure. We are really in the business of growing amazingly confident and strong individuals who know they
have the choice to take their education and experiences in life to great
levels. We are working with students coming from some pretty tough backgrounds.
Our students have already overcome huge obstacles in order to make it to
college. We listen and learn from these experiences and we are intent on moving
beyond them. Our focus is really on encouraging our students to make healthy choices in their lives
that will enable them to excel on all levels – academically and otherwise.
The magic, if you will, comes from our
relationships with the scholars and relationships
among the scholars and with their faculty mentors. The group grows and evolves together and supports one another. In the
end, you have an amazing group of students who understand one another and want
to see each other succeed. And, you have a special group of students supported
by a very special group of faculty intent on supporting their success.
The goal of McNair is have our scholars carry on in the footsteps
of Dr. McNair (click HERE for more on his amazing life) by achieving their Ph.D.
and then giving back. Giving back to society through their work, yes, but also
giving back to the community and by mentoring students and helping others to
find their way. The Ph.D. opens doors to do some really cool things in life!
It’s the McNair Mission.
The McNair experience in bullet form:
- Be someone who is curious and
loves learning. Be someone who is
passionate about something. Be someone
who is willing to be challenged and exposed to new things. Be someone who has a positive outlook on life
and grabs hold of opportunity. Be
someone who works hard and has fun.
- Find out about the McNair program
and develop a relationship with us. Find
out as much as possible about the McNair program and how it could benefit
you. Find out about the awesome scholars
who are already part of the McNair Mission.
- Make sure you qualify as a low
income and first generation college student and/or an underrepresented
student. Make sure you have the best
grades possible. The cut-off is a 2.8
GPA, but know that we are looking for academically motivated students that want
- Think about your interests and
goals. Talk to as many faculty in your
area as possible and learn about their research. Ask them why you should consider getting your
Ph.D. Apply to McNair with some ideas of
what you would like to do in life and how getting your Ph.D. will be an
important step for you along the way.
- Be selected. Be super excited. Maybe a little nervous. Immediately start thinking of faculty you
would like to work with – selecting a mentor is step number one in McNair. Your mentor is the foundation of your
experience as a scholar. Be mindful
about growing the best relationship possible!
- Get to know the group. Get to know our research writing
instructor. Get to know staff. Get a feel of how we jive and flow. Know the expectations and know the great
opportunities. Commit fully to the
- Develop your research proposal
and meet weekly with your faculty mentor.
Work with our speech communication coach and prepare to present your
proposal. Feel awesome about your
accomplishments as a McNair scholar this first spring semester!
- Relax before the Summer Research
Institute starts. The SRI is intense and
fun. Pace yourselves. This is when you do your research, study for
the GRE and figure out your plan for graduate school. Or you know, your life. The summer will bring structure and
flexibility. It will bring much work
along with much growth and fun. In the
end, the SRI (and entire McNair experience for that matter) is what you make it
to be. We require our scholars to make
it the best ever!
- Feel entirely accomplished at the
end of the summer. Take a break. School starts soon. You will be presenting your final work in
oral and poster format for the university community, so be excited! Finalize and practice your
presentations. Work hard on your
- Now this is where scholars divert
according to their personal timelines for graduation. Some scholars will be immediately applying to
graduate school this fall (and thus putting their Graduate School Action Plan
into action!) while others will have another summer before they apply.
- Grad-oriented scholars have
intense fall semesters. There’s no way
around it. Besides the normal demand of
classes, you are trying to gain entry into fully-funded Ph.D. programs. Applications can be complicated and time
consuming. Good thing you have all of
the tools and techniques from McNair! A
huge part of the fall semester is visiting your top-choice schools. Key to getting accepted – in our view – and a
complicated and time consuming process as well.
Well worth it in the end. Talk to
our scholars who receive offers of $19,000 or $27,000 or even $30,000 yearly
stipends to complete their doctoral work – plus their tuition is covered
too! Hark work = some pretty cool
- Some of our scholars present
their work at national conferences throughout the year. We highly encourage these opportunities.
- For our scholars not applying
until next fall (i.e. juniors) – they are working hard in their classes, probably
continuing to do research with their faculty mentors (some of our scholars even
get published while still an undergrad!).
- “Younger” scholars have the
benefit of applying to Summer Research Opportunity Programs at their top-choice
universities – these are SWEET DEALS that can really help you get selected for
your program of choice. It’s a great way to be able to continue to do more
research and get a “foot in the
door!” Scholars who pursue these opportunities love them and it usually pays
off with an offer of admission that following fall.
- Throughout the academic year, we
remain connected with our scholars. That’s just how we tend to roll. We try to
coordinate our schedules so that we can practice yoga or work out together, we
get together for lunch and “catch up” sessions, we attend a few workshops on
topics like “stress management” and “professional etiquette” and we even hit up
a few cultural-type activities down at the Wharton Center from time to time.
- The bottom line is that we are
here for our students – at whatever point they may be in their personal
journeys. Everyone is different and everyone has a unique set of needs and
desires. We try to respond in positive and helpful ways. We encourage our
students explore options for themselves. We challenge them, we see them falter
and then we celebrate their accomplishments. It’s about our scholars rocking it
out on a daily basis – one step at a time.
We are so lucky to be able to provide this
kind of experience and be a part of
this special journey. We are always looking for new talent – come talk to us if
you think you qualify for McNair and you are considering pursuing your Ph.D.
It could change your life.