College students who are considering study beyond the baccalaureate level can realize their dreams through the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). MU was one of the original fourteen universities selected in 1989 to develop a program established by the U.S. Department of Education and named for astronaut and Challenger crew member Ronald E. McNair, The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
The MU McNair Scholars Program prepares MU students who meet federal income guidelines whose parents have not completed an undergraduate degree and/or students from groups underrepresented in graduate education. The purpose of the program is to provide enriching experiences that prepare eligible students for doctoral study.
One of the most exciting aspects of the McNair Program is the opportunity for undergraduate students at the junior and senior levels to participate in research experiences.
Scholars receive a stipend to conduct research and engage in other scholarly activities with faculty mentors from the areas in which they hope to pursue graduate study. McNair Scholars also attend professional conferences with their mentors, go to graduate school fairs, prepare for graduate school entrance exams, receive guidance through the graduate school application process and obtain information on securing fellowships, graduate assistantships, and loans. Participants learn about graduate school life, advanced library skills, and effective ways to present their work. Scholars are also offered a course in preparing to be a teaching assistant.
At the completion of the research internships at MU, McNair scholars make formal presentations of their research to faculty and peers at the McNair Scholars Conference and submit papers summarizing their work.
Students who are in their freshman and sophomore years are considered recruits and participate in a scholar preparation program. They learn about the opportunities associated with having a doctoral education, what research and scholarly activity entails, and what they should do as underclassmen to prepare to become McNair Scholars.