Congress established the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986 to honor the memory of the Challenger astronaut and noted laser physicist. This graduate school preparation program is part of the federal TRIO programs (Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and Educational Opportunity Centers) and is administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The USED provides monies to selected institutions through competitive grants as part of its efforts to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented groups (low-income, first-generation, and/or racial minority) who are interested in pursuing and obtaining doctoral degrees and careers in academia.
The McNair Program at the University of New Hampshire aims to promote and nurture the next generation of faculty, researchers, and scholars by providing academic and social support services in the form of academic year internships and summer research fellowships. The university has been home to the McNair Scholars Program since 1991. The program’s academic internships and summer fellowships are awarded annually, on a competitive basis, to eligible undergraduates.