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Ronald McNair Scholarship program

The McNair Scholarship Program seeks professor-nominated students

The SOU McNair Scholarship Program recently opened its application period, and is seeking assistance from faculty members in finding students who can benefit from the intensive McNair Program.

The majority of McNair Program Scholars reported that they heard of the program by being nominated and/or encouraged by an SOU faculty member. Dee Southard, the program director of the McNair Program, encourages faculty to nominate sophomore, junior or early senior students for the McNair Program by emailing her the students’ names, SOU email addresses and undergraduate majors.

Since 2003, SOU has been home to a McNair Program funded through the U.S. Department of Education. The SOU program offers one-on-one guidance from faculty mentors as it helps participants complete their undergraduate degrees, enroll in graduate school and prepare for doctoral studies. More than a dozen SOU McNair alumni have completed their doctoral programs since the program began 15 years ago.

Dedicated to Ronald E. McNair, a civil rights activist and astronaut, the McNair Program is for students facing socio-economic adversity who want to achieve a graduate education. However, Southard recommends ignoring that criterion when selecting students to nominate for the scholarship, as she’ll be giving advice and information to all who are nominated, even if they don’t make the McNair cut.

McNair Scholars are “targets of recruitment” for graduate programs across the nation. Students who participate are also often offered fully-paid campus visitation opportunities, have their graduate application fees waived and frequently receive offers of multiple years of funding support.

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. SOU’s McNair program serves 28 undergraduate scholars each year.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer