nominations for McNair Scholars program

Promising students sought for SOU McNair Scholars Program

SOU faculty and staff are asked to help identify and nominate students for the next cohort of SOU’s McNair Scholars Program, which has prepared eligible undergraduate students for post-graduate education since 2003.

A majority of past participants in the program have said they were encouraged by faculty or staff to apply, so the program’s director is seeking nominations of students who have shown academic promise and an interest in graduate school. Prospective McNair Scholars should be sophomores, juniors or early seniors.

Those who wish to be considered this spring for the 2020 cohort must submit their completed application packets by 3 p.m. on May 6.

The SOU program offers one-to-one guidance from faculty mentors as it helps participants complete their undergraduate degrees, enroll in graduate school and prepare for doctoral studies. SOU’s McNair program serves 28 undergraduate scholars each year, and more than a dozen alumni have completed their doctoral programs since the program began 15 years ago.

Student participants in the nation’s 187 currently funded McNair programs are considered “targets of recruitment” for graduate admissions officers. They are offered fully-paid visitation opportunities and often given offers of admission that include all-expenses-paid packages with stipends for living expenses.

Benefits and resources available free of charge to participants in SOU’s McNair Scholars Program include seminars on topics pertinent to pre-doctoral students, advising, tutoring, access to a resource library, help with graduate school applications, travel assistance and more.

The program is named for Ronald E. McNair, who stood up for civil rights as a youth before becoming a physicist and astronaut. He was the second African-American to fly in space, but died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

The McNair program was initiated in 1989 by the U.S. Department of Education to increase doctoral studies by students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

Those wishing to recommend a student for SOU’s McNair program should send the student’s name, email address and undergraduate major to program director Dee Southard at