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McNair Program accepting new applicants

By Dajana Gudic

February 16, 2012

The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare eligible undergraduate students for graduate and doctoral studies. Students who are pursuing degrees in S.T.E.M (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are ideal candidates. However, any student with a genuine interest in academic research is encouraged to apply for the program.

According to Gina C. Huffman, the assistant director of the McNair Program, the program is one of seven TRIO programs that offer students academic, social and financial support. These programs are designed to give students of all backgrounds more equal access to many opportunities.

“TRIO programs identify students who are first generation college students, who come from low income households or who are underrepresented minorities in graduate education,” Huffman said. Underrepresented minorities in graduate education are African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Alaskan or other Pacific Islander/ Native Hawaiian.

To be considered for the McNairs program the students are required to have a GPA of 2.8 or better and they need to be a sophomore.

Huffman explained at CSU we have two TRIO programs: the student support services that assist students with tutoring, mentoring and exposure to different social activities and the McNair program that gives the students an opportunity to develop a large number of skills that will be useful in their job search and career while obtaining a Ph.D.
For many students, going to graduate school seems challenging and overwhelming. They face the dilemma to go for further higher education or look for a job and begin earning right away.

“I am getting my bachelor’s this fall and I don’t think I want to go back to school, it would be too much,” said Liza Lagdon, a senior at CSU.

Huffman explained that higher education will set a student apart from other applicants. “When you have a Ph.D, you could earn a salary you could not even think of,” she said.
The interesting thing about this particular program is that, in some cases, the students can pursue doctorate degree right after completing their undergraduate education. The students can be from any of CSU’s colleges as long as they are passionate about scholarly research.

The McNair program was established at CSU in 2007. The name of the program is in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut who tragically lost his life in the 1986 Challenger accident. Its mission is to encourage the kind of lifelong learning and passion for discovery that McNair lost his life pursuing.

The deadline for the preliminary application is due by March 9, 2012. For more information call 216-802-3360.