UNH McNair Nets Nearly $1M

By Michelle Gregoire
UNH News Bureau

DURHAM, N.H. -- The McNair Graduate Opportunity Program at the University of New Hampshire recently received nearly $1 million in a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. The UNH program, established in 1992, competes at a national level for funding on a four-year cycle.

The McNair program, named for the astronaut who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, provides an opportunity for undergraduates to pursue research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, and prepare for the challenges of applying to graduate school, passing exams and finding financial support.

The program serves low-income students, first-generation university students, and individuals from racial or ethnic backgrounds traditionally under-represented in academia. Since 1992, 124 students have participated in the UNH program; 66 have sought or obtained graduate or professional degrees; of the remaining, 24 are still undergraduates.

"The UNH McNair Program inspires undergraduates to take their research to a higher academic level and pursue an advanced degree. Students who may never have considered graduate school now have the confidence, the skills and the knowledge to take that big step," says UNH President Joan Leitzel. "Many of our McNair fellows have gone on to challenging master's and doctoral degree programs both here and at other fine universities, and several have received prestigious awards for their work. We are truly proud of their efforts and we are pleased the McNair program was able to help them reach their goals."

This year, 15 McNair fellows from universities throughout New England will participate in a 10-week residential summer program. Each fellow is paired with a faculty mentor and together they design, conduct and present a research project. In addition, they receive instruction in identifying and applying to appropriate graduate schools. They also receive a stipend of $2,400. Seven of this year's 15 fellows are UNH students; the rest come from the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College, the University of Rhode Island, Hunter College and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

In the fall, a new aspect of the program begins, offering 10 UNH students a full-year internship that prepares them to undertake a research project, according to Meredith Maust, McNair program coordinator. Students, selected at the beginning of their junior year, will receive instruction and skill-building that will prepare them to apply for the summer McNair fellowship or other research opportunities.

For general information about the McNair program, contact Maust or her assistant, Amanda Powell, at (603) 862-0088, or visit the Web site: www.unh.edu/mcnair.

June 14, 2000

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