OLLU McNair Scholars program receives $1.125 million grant
Grant allows OLLU to continue McNair Scholars Program
Our Lady of the Lake University has received $1.125 million from the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program to continue the McNair Scholars program for the next five years.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the McNair Scholars Program is designed to address the needs of TRiO eligible students as they strive to achieve a PhD. Students who are selected to participate in the program are from underrepresented populations in graduate education.
Students selected to participate in the McNair Scholars program are eligible for an array of services designed to prepare them for studies at the graduate level. The services students receive include an undergraduate research internship, GRE preparation, skill enhancement workshops, graduate application seminars and graduate school visits. This year, the program will support 25 scholars who are on track to pursue a terminal degree.
Lourdes Sanchez-Conteras, EdD, director for the student success center and TRiO programs, says that the grant renewal will allow OLLU to make changes to the program that will be more beneficial to the students. Students will be required to complete two research experiences instead of one—the first will be on campus and the second will be through the school students wish to attend for graduate school. There will also be an increase in the number of campus visits students make when selecting a graduate school. “Students will narrow their choices down to the top three colleges or universities they wish to attend and we will try to arrange visits to all three schools for the students,” said Conteras. Additionally, each student will be required to complete one of their research experiences in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field regardless of their major. “Although not all students are majoring in STEM fields, it is important for students to engage in interdisciplinary studies and understand how different industries can work together,” said Conteras.
Another important component to the McNair Scholars program is the faculty mentors. Every student completing a research experience does so under the guidance of a faculty member with expertise in that field of study. Conteras says dedication of the faculty mentors has contributed to the success of the program. “The support from faculty members has been phenomenal,” Conteras said. “Many continuously come back to mentor students and lead workshops for students and staff.”
The McNair program was created in honor of Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut-physicist and member of the Challenger space shuttle crew. After his death in space shuttle accident in 1986, Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. The program strives to increase the numbers of underrepresented groups in graduate education through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. (McNair Scholars Program website).
Click here to view the Fall 2012 McNair Scholars and Mentors.
Learn more about the OLLU McNair Scholars program.