McNair Scholars

Program Information

The TRIO McNair Scholars Program provides students with critical academic, professional, and research-related experiences to enhance their competitiveness in gaining admission to graduate programs. Its participants are scholars who have demonstrated strong academic potential in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) disciplines and who are either low-income, first-generation college students or students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the program, an applicant must be either:

  • A student of any race/ethnicity, who is both a first-generation college student (i.e. a student who has no parents or guardians who have received a bachelor's degree) and who is considered low-income according to federal guidelines. (Guidelines may be consulted here.)


  • A student from a group underrepresented in graduate education [i.e., African-American/Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander]

In addition, an applicant must be:

  • Enrolled at Cleveland State University
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Majoring in STEM discipline
  • Maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.8 throughout their freshmen and sophomore years
  • Able to demonstrate academic potential for graduate study
  • Interested in pursuing a Ph.D.

Faculty Support

Each McNair scholar chooses a Discipline Faculty Menor (DFM) and a Non-Discipline Faculty Mentor (NDFM).

Discipline Faculty Mentor

  • Define a research topic for summer research
  • Teaches laboratory techniques
  • Guides summer research program
  • Guides research presentation
  • Informs their advisee about faculty careers
  • Provides direction their advisee during summer research

Non-Discipline Faculty Mentor

  • Assists in the definition of a summer research topic
  • Offers interdisciplinary perspectives with regard to their advisee's field
  • Facilitates interactions with faculty
  • Provides guidance during summer research

Benefits of the Program

  • Mentoring by faculty (both within and outside of the student’s field) and by graduate assistants
  • Access to interdisciplinary seminars
  • Access to course in GRE preparation and research methods
  • Independent study credit
  • Eight week summer research institute (for ten selected scholars who have completed their junior year)

Program Activities

Activities to prepare students for doctoral study

  • McNair writing program
  • Opportunities to attend and present at conferences
  • Interpersonal communications development and community building
  • Internship opportunities
  • Social gatherings

Activities to prepare students for entry into graduate school

  • Graduate school preparation program
  • Seminar on financing graduate education
  • Family outreach
  • Personal portfolio counseling and follow-up

Why Pursue a Doctoral Education?

As our society makes a transition from a manufacturing economy to an economy requiring highly technical and information-based skills, it is necessary that new talent be fostered to meet the growing need for professionals in STEM-related fields. As a McNair Scholar, students’ skills will be enhanced through:

  • Community-based research opportunities on diverse topics
  • Opportunities to learn the major components of pursuing a graduate education
  • Participation in a close-knit community that will facilitate the creation of a life-long social network that may aid one’s academic pursuits
  • Seminars and workshops that provide understanding of the life-changing benefits of earning a doctorate in a STEM field.
  • Financial support for undergraduate research and graduate education