Congress established the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (otherwise referred to as the “McNair Scholars Program”) in 1986 to honor the memory of the Challenger astronaut and noted laser physicist. The McNair Scholars Program is a federally-funded TRIO program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The McNair Scholars Program has been in existence at the University of New Hampshire since 1991. The mission of this program is to prepare talented, highly motivated UNH undergraduates for entrance to PhD programs in all fields of study. The program 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.
McNair Scholars are either first-generation college students with financial need or members of a group that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate education (e.g. Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Native American Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native). McNair Scholars participate in unique programming and educational activities designed to give them a competitive edge when applying to graduate school and to prepare them for success in their pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. Scholars attend courses, seminars and workshops on topics related to graduate school preparation; complete a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor; and have the opportunity to present their research at local, regional and national conferences.