McNair Scholars

Empowering the next generation of students

Dr. Ronald E. McNair

The Dr. Ronald McNair scholarship honors Dr. McNair; born in Lake City, South Carolina and the son of an auto mechanic. McNair found his love of learning at a young age and continued to dream beyond the stars. He achieved early success in the segregated public schools which he attended and excelled as both a student and an athlete. His perseverance in the face of poverty and prejudice provided him with the resilience and aspirational capital to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1971 and five years later, at age 26, his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. McNair became a nationally recognized expert in laser physics and in 1978 was selected for participation in NASA’s space shuttle program, becoming the second African American astronaut in U.S. history. He served as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger and unfortunately died along with the rest of its crew when the space shuttle exploded nine miles above the Atlantic on January 28, 1986.

His achievements were not limited to academia and NASA. He was a loving father to Joy and Reginald McNair, a fifth-degree black belt in karate and an accomplished saxophonist. The McNair Scholars program is dedicated to preserving Dr. McNair’s legacy of scholarship and accomplishments.

“Whether or not you reach your goals in life depends entirely on how well you prepare for them and how badly you want them. You're eagles! Stretch your wings and fly to the sky!” - Ronald E. McNair​​

Eyes on the Stars Podcast

RIC McNair Scholar Alumni & Faculty

McNair Scholar Alumni

My name is Mary Ellen Fernandez; I am a first-generation college student as well as a first generation American. In my hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island I was a graduate of Lincoln High School. In high school I was a part of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group. As a member of this group I developed my passion for providing health education and promoting positive change within my community for youth. In my current undergraduate career, I have continued this passion through my endeavors in research. In my senior year I was accepted as a McNair Scholar, with the desire to further my research interests in youth risk behaviors. As a McNair Scholar, I have begun to establish my own research process with the help of my mentor, Dr. Emily Cook. Developing a research question, conducting a thorough literature review, analyzing data and writing up results have all been a part of the process of managing my own independent project. This particular program has afforded me with the unique experience of personalizing my research process, and giving me the opportunity to independently construct my own research. My research involves examining the impacts of stress reactivity on adolescent risk taking in a laboratory setting. The results of the study will hopefully lend themselves to our understanding of how adolescents unique stress patterns may impact their behaviors. Such information can better inform future research on the biological underpinnings of adolescent risk taking.

ABSTRACT: The Impact of Stress Response on Subsequent Adolescent Risk-Taking During Adolescence The prevalence of risk-taking during adolescence has become an area of interest for researchers as well as a major issue of public health. Current literature suggests that stress response may play a role in the propensity to which adolescents may partake in risk behaviors. The current study expands upon this literature to examine how, under laboratory conditions, physiological stress response to a stressor impacts subsequent risk taking. In order to examine this, non-invasive and reliable measures of stress response (alpha amylase, cortisol and heart rate) will be examined in the effect of two salient adolescent stressors within the laboratory. A computerized peer rejection stressor as well as a novel parent adolescent video stressor was used to elicit a stress response. An ecologically valid risk-taking task (Balloon Analogue Risk Task; Lejuez, 2005) will be used as well to assess risk taking. Additionally, gender and pubertal status will be assessed and considered as a potential moderator of the relationship between stress response and risk taking. Although past research has examined stress response and risk taking, few studies have examined this relationship under controlled laboratory settings. The research intends to further the understanding of risk taking amongst adolescents, in order to contribute information towards future preventative programs.
Keywords: stress response, adolescence, risk taking​​

McNair Scholar Alumni

My name is Jordan Moment, my hometown is Boston, MA. I am a graduate of Classical High School, and I’m currently a senior at Rhode Island College majoring in Political Science and Public Administration. My research is about the social and political changes that lead to revolution. I will examine whether or not revolutions change a State in a sustainable way. In terms of my aspirations, they are pretty simple—I want to create a new subfield of state-analysis, because most people in my disciple are trapped within the dynamics of the 20th century. Also, because the field of Political Science completely lacks any historical consideration of government, social organization, and international dynamics. With that being said, McNair has provided me the opportunity and resources to attend graduate school and accomplish my goal of usurping the prevalence of Western thought in our theoretical political processes. My motto is “nothing last forever, not even forever.”

ABSTRACT: This research looks at the sociopolitical conflict behind and leading up to the French and Haitian Revolutions as well as the international political, economic, military, and social responses to the emergence of these incidents while critiquing the ultimate success of each revolution and the factors leading to either conclusion. This paper will primarily be carried out through a review of primary and secondary sources that will be applied to a more general framework that deconstructs the processes that created the conditions for a revolution. The results of this analysis will be able to conclude whether or not the French and Haitian Revolutions reconstructed and created states that were viable in both interstate and intrastate relations. The anticipated outcome is that neither Revolution created states that were both viable due to the factors that lead to specific choices within the transition to Revolutionary states​​​​

McNair Scholar Alumni

My name is Wilka Rosario and I am a McNair Scholar at Rhode Island College (RIC). I am in my last year of undergraduate studies with plans to go to graduate school for my Ph.D. I live about twenty minutes from RIC in a town called Central Falls that constitutes just one squared mile filled with Hispanics and other people of color. I have lived in Central Falls with my grandparents and brother since I was nine. After finishing elementary school, I went to middle school, and then Central Falls High School. While, in high school I joined the Upward Bound program which provides support and aid to first-generation, low-income high school students. Joining the Upward Bound program was one of the best decisions I made academically because it is what led to me becoming a student at RIC as well as a McNair Scholar. It was difficult being an Upward Bound scholar because no one in my family understood what it meant and why I had to give up twelve weeks or so of my summer to go live on campus, and take classes every summer while I was in high school. I did not have much support but my family offered the best they had. I am a McNair Scholar now and plan to advance my education because I want to educate my family as much as I can so they never say to me, “I do not understand why you are going to school for more years.” I will pay back my grandmother all of her efforts and the work that she has given my brother and me. I want to demonstrate to her that her sacrifice of not returning to her home country to be with her mother was not for nothing. I am planning on getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology because I want to contribute to the clinical research field with a special focus on Veterans and people that have posttraumatic stress disorder because I believe that there is not enough help for veterans in society.

For my research project, I am working with Doctor Megan Sumeracki on retrieval-based practice. My research project is titled Retrieval Practice and Free Recall among High School Students. My project is an extension of other retrieval practices research that Dr. Sumeracki has worked on over the years with students. We will be working with Upward Bound students to examine conditions and ways that student study to recall information and about which study methods are more effective than others. The results of this study will contribute to which conditions are more effective and beneficial for students to study.

ABSTRACT: Retrieval practice is the act of bringing information to mind and has been shown to help students learn. Conditions to practice retrieval are free recall (bringing any information to mind) and prompted recall (students will recall using the prompts to aid them). For this research, we will be exploring free recall and prompts as a way of practicing retrieval on high school students from the Upward Bound program at Rhode Island College. It will be a mixed design. For retrieval practice it will be within-subjects and for the type of retrieval it will be between-subjects. Participants will either read from four different texts or read-only for control. Next, students will complete a reading comprehension test. Then, students will be given the second text to read, and will participate in the second within-subjects condition in their experimental version. After, students will complete the speed of processing test. Later on, participants will return to take a final short-answer assessment test to measure learning and will complete the demographic questions as well. We hypothesized that students will practice retrieval better with prompts than with free recall and that it will lead to a better performance on the later test.​​​​

McNair Scholar Alumni

Jeremi Evangelista is a psychology major and a studio art minor at Rhode Island College graduating with a bachelor’s of the arts in 2019. She attended Central High School in her hometown Providence, Rhode Island. Her research project is about the stereotypes of femininity and masculinity towards the LGBTQ community. As a lesbian she believes that individuals may expect her to be masculine because of her sexuality. She chose to join McNair Scholars so it could help her get the chance to attend graduate school. She believes that being a McNair Scholar is not just about being a minority or being in a lower class, but about giving opportunity to individuals who may never had a chance otherwise. Her goals are to be involve in students’ lives by becoming a part of the department of guidance counseling. She believes it is important to be involved in students’ lives in a good way by making sure they reach their potential. She plans on reaching her goals by getting her masters in guidance counseling. As a first-generation college student, she has made her family proud, because they never had the chance to go to college and now they get to see her achieve it.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to explore how individuals in the LGBTQ community experience their gender (e.g., as masculine or feminine) and their expectations around certain types of intimate relationships. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) in this society deviates from what is often seen as “normal.” Stereotypes about LGBTQ persons come in many forms. One common stereotype is the belief that a person’s sexuality can be determined by their gender presentation. For example, it is assumed that lesbians are more masculine or that gay men are more feminine. This project uses a survey to explore how people in the LGBTQ community view a person’s gender depending on the sexuality. Additionally, this project explores how individuals in the LGBTQ community expect themselves to behave masculine or feminine depending on their sexuality. The survey will question up to 50 individuals who are in the LGBTQ community as well heterosexual’s college age of 18-24 in the Rhode Island College/ locally area, what their perception is towards that topic. In this society it is expected for the man to be masculine and the bread winner of the family, while women to be feminine and take care of the house and children. It is important to get the perceptions of heterosexuals as well because, they are what this society calls the norm, with masculine men and feminine women. This expectation may be the same for the LGBTQ community where a lesbian’s relationship should involve a masculine and a feminine lesbian. A transgender male to expected to be masculine because they are male.​

McNair Scholar Alumni

Michele Hill is a senior at Rhode Island College, she is a Rhode Island Native. In the spring of 2019 she will receive her B.S.W. in Social Work with a minor in Communications. During her time at Rhode Island College she worked closely with SBIRT, an organization dedicated to preventing substance abuse. With Chris D and Kinzel T. Michele has become a McNair research scholar that is working on a project that looks at the prevention of childhood obesity. She is looking forward to working with 100 parents at an elementary school in the greater Providence area. As a McNair research scholar Michele has had a short story appeared in the Rhode Island College Anchor newspaper. When Michele is not working on research projects, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to church and listening to music.​​

McNair Scholar Alumni

My name is Jorge Victorino and I am a biochemistry major at Rhode Island College. I am from a small town in Eddy, Texas where I also went to high school. I am currently finishing up my senior year and am involved in research concerning a DNA repair polymerase, Polymerase Theta, which has been found in melanoma patients. I was introduced to this topic by my advisor and quickly became interested in the mechanisms involved. I am very proud to be a McNair scholar and truly appreciate all the work that they have done for me. My goal is to have enough financial independence to help support my family. I would not be where I am without their help and I want to be able to help them as much as they helped me.​

McNair Scholar Alumni

Being a McNair scholar has given Dominique the opportunity to explore my interests on a broader spectrum. She is able to choose and work with a professor whose public health experience and research aligns with what she wants to do in the future. With the endless support of her faculty mentor and the McNair program, her research has validated what population and health concerns she wants to help change in my career. The support of the program also helped Dominique challenge herself by getting involved with other programs on campus that align with her health interests. She realizes it wasn’t for the McNair program, she wouldn’t be as excited to peruse a master’s degree. Being a first-generation college student on her mother’s side, it’s amazing to see how she (along with my cousins and siblings) are able to have this opportunity to be in college in general. “The planet does not need more ‘successful people’. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. It needs people to live well in their places. It needs people with moral courage willing to join the struggle to make the world habitable and humane and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture is the set.” – Dalai Lama

ABSTRACT: Background: A growing health concern individuals of vulnerable populations face and have a higher risk for is sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In recent years, there has been a rise of STIs in women prison facilities, the highest being chlamydia trachomatis. There is a lack of studies in women facilities showing the decrease of STIs when prevention programs are in place while they are incarcerated. Methods: An evaluation of the current health curriculum will be done and given to the women of the facility. Expected Results: Workshops and programs that emphasize self-efficacy and STI prevention significantly lowered the risk of recidivism and frequent STI diagnoses for women who are incarcerated.

McNair Scholar Alumni

Johanny Castillo is a providence native with roots from the Dominican Republic. She is a third-year student at Rhode Island College, yet will be receiving her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience this May! Her research in the McNair Program aims to determine how the ways we think about complex information helps us retain information better. Her hope is that the results can contribute new evidence-based strategies for students, especially first-generation students like herself, who are still trying to figure out which study habits can best suit their needs. She plans on expanding her interests in this area by pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, focusing her studies on children with Autism. This kind of work is something that she believes needs to reach more communities of minority populations who don’t have access to a range of resources. For Johanny, outreach is a priority and, in her training,, she wants to find new ways to extend information to families that come from similar backgrounds as herself. Despite the disadvantages set out for first generation Latina college students, she has reaped patience and strength from her experiences. From her involvement with McNair, she has surprised herself with her academic and social growth as she expands her skill set and takes advantage of new opportunities she otherwise would not have known about. Doing this alongside such an incredible and diverse group of scholars makes it more rewarding and has been a wonderful thing for her to be a part of. In her free time, Johanny loves to watch Friends and hopes to be a pet owner one day.

ABSTRACT: The act of intentionally bringing information to mind is called retrieval practice, and has been shown to improve learning. One question is whether students need to produce the information (overt) or if they can simply bring it to mind (covert). The purpose of this research is to explore the use of retrieval practice in classroom settings and whether covert retrieval can work with complex materials. Undergraduates from Rhode Island College were recruited. Students read material related to their own classes so they were already motivated to learn. Then, they answered questions about the reading, either by writing or bringing answers to mind, and rated their confidence in their answers. They were then given feedback. In addition, a restudy control condition was included during which students read the question and then the answer. Two days later, students completed a final short-answer assessment test. Data collection is ongoing, but preliminary analyses show a trend – students who practiced overt retrieval performed slightly better on the final assessment test than those who practiced covert retrieval.​

McNair Scholar Alumni

Cheryl A. O. Eluwa was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1997. She moved to Cranston, Rhode Island with her family in 2012. She attended Cranston High School East, and graduated in 2015 with high honors. She was a student athlete during her high school career and during her first two years at Rhode Island College. She is currently in the senior year of her undergraduate career and is on track to graduate in the spring semester of 2019, with a B.S. in Business Management. She is one of twenty-five students that are scholars of the Ronald E. McNair and is also a Preparatory Enrollment Program scholar at Rhode Island College. She chose her research topic because she is passionate about the issues facing her home country, Nigeria and her main goal is to shed light on the issues that Nigeria faces.

ABSTRACT: Politics, religion and societal norms are part of a peoples’ way of life. These entities provide a guideline of a society’s doctrines and manner in which that society is governed. Politics deliver the rules and regulations according to the government, religion provides rules and regulations according to the teachings and successions of God and Pastor for Christians, Allah and Prophet for Muslims. But in the case of Nigeria, the clashing of these entities, politics, religion and social norms has resulted in the creation of disagreement and imbalance in the Northeastern geography of the country. A false demonstration of Islamic belief called Boko Haram has implanted havoc in the country opposing all other existing norms and political governance in attempts to impose the widespread of Sharia Law, in the country. This is an ongoing issue and persisting fear in Northeastern Nigeria and surrounding countries therein.​​

  • Mikaila Arthur, Ph.D.
  • Stefan Battle, Ph.D.
  • Sadhana Bery, Ph.D. 
  • Deborah Britt, Ph.D.
  • Emily Cook, Ph.D.
  • Matthew Duncan, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth England- Kennedy, Ph.D.
  • Katherine Lacasse, Ph.D.
  • George Ladd, Ph.D.
  • Robyn Linde, Ph.D.
  • Melissa Marcotte, Ph.D.
  • Cara McDermott-Fasy, Ph.D.
  • Peter Mendy, Ph.D.
  • Eung-Jun Min, Ph.D.
  • Tamara Nopper, Ph.D.
  • Medini Padmanabhan, Ph.D.
  • Jessica Pearson, MFA
  • Carse Ramos, Ph.D.
  • Marianne Raimondo, Ph.D.
  • David Sugarman, Ph.D.
  • Megan Sumeracki, Ph.D.
  • Jamie Towle-Weicksel, Ph.D.
  • Tamika Wordlow-Williams, Ed.D.
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Apply Today!

Apply to be a future McNair Scholar today!

McNair Scholarship Program

Commitments & Benefits

McNair scholars are dedicated to exploring the unknown and recognize the power and value that their voice will bring. Research can be difficult but it can also reveal a scholar’s desire to challenge the worlds ideas and make space for new one.

McNair Scholars always keep their eye on the stars!

McNair Scholars commit to

  • Successful completion of the 1-year McNair Undergraduate Research Project 
  • Submit a complete Research project (20-30 pages)
  • Participate in three consecutive semesters of research (Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Actively participate in McNair monthly programming
  • Attend Bi-weekly meeting with McNair Staff
  • Applying to minimum of 6-8 graduate programs (minimum of 2 Ph.D. Programs)
  • Develop a professional relationship with Faculty Mentor 

McNair Staff commit to 

  • Supporting scholars through their McNair Undergraduate Research Experience 
  • Support scholars in identifying research presentation opportunities
  • Individualized coaching for academic, research and graduate school process 
  • Providing professional development opportunity 
  • Funding to attend graduate school visits, application fee waivers, GRE fee wavier
  • A national community of McNair scholars, faculty, and staff invested in student success

Research Phases

PHASE I 

Research Proposal Writing
January – May
5 hours weekly

Scholars will develop research proposal under the supervision of your Faculty Mentor, as well as begin graduate school application process

PHASE II 

Data Collection
June-August
10-20 hours weekly

Scholars will participate  in the McNair Summer Internship Program and begin the data collection process, attend Math and verbal course as well as prepare for graduate school applications

PHASE III 

Final Write up/Conclusion
September – December 
2-5 hours weekly 

Scholars will analyze collected data and provide final write up discussing your finding. Scholars will apply to graduate school programs and present research at local and national conferences. 

Scholars can earn up to $2800 after completing all three phases
*Stipend disbursement for 2020-2021 McNair Academic year, is subject to change

Faculty Mentor Information

Contact Margarida Da Graça, Project Director, at mdagraca@ric.edu for more information

Our faculty mentors are the cornerstone to the success of the McNair Program and its scholars. Scholars will work closely with a faculty mentor to develop and enhance their research, academic, and professional skills in their preparation for graduate coursework. Scholars have the opportunity to identify a faculty mentor for their research, or McNair staff assist students in locating a faculty mentor.  

Faculty Mentor commit to

  • Guiding McNair scholars in the planning, designing and execution of a scholarly undergraduate research project
  • Providing mentorship and individualized support to scholar(s) during the academic year (once a week) and Summer Research Internship (twice a week) to ensure the scholar is meeting the research project timeline
  • Supervising and approval all aspects of the McNair Undergraduate Research Project (Phase 1-3) Communicating with McNair staff on scholar research progress 
  • Communicating with McNair staff on scholar research progress 
  • Discussing career/educational goals assist scholars in the graduate school application process 
  • Attendance at McNair Monthly Meetings: To support your scholar, we hope to that you will attend at least one McNair Monthly Meeting during the academic year

Time & Compensation for Mentors

Time & Effort Reporting 

Faculty mentors are required to submit a time and effort report monthly for each McNair scholar detailing progress on the Undergraduate Research Project based on the U.S. Department of Education grant protocol 

Faculty Mentors must certify scholar has successful completed tasks associated with each phase in order for scholars to be compensated appropriately. Once phase is accepted and approved, the faculty mentor submits approved documentation to McNair Project Director to process and disburse stipend.

Faculty Mentor Information

Interested in becoming a faculty member? 

Contact Margarida Da Graça, Project Director, at mdagraca@ric.edu for more information

Our faculty mentors are the cornerstone to the success of the McNair Program and its scholars. Scholars will work closely with a faculty mentor to develop and enhance their research, academic, and professional skills in their preparation for graduate coursework. Scholars have the opportunity to identify a faculty mentor for their research, or McNair staff assist students in locating a faculty mentor.  

Faculty Mentor commit to

  • Guiding McNair scholars in the planning, designing and execution of a scholarly undergraduate research project
  • Providing mentorship and individualized support to scholar(s) during the academic year (once a week) and Summer Research Internship (twice a week) to ensure the scholar is meeting the research project timeline
  • Supervising and approval all aspects of the McNair Undergraduate Research Project (Phase 1-3) Communicating with McNair staff on scholar research progress 
  • Communicating with McNair staff on scholar research progress 
  • Discussing career/educational goals assist scholars in the graduate school application process 
  • Attendance at McNair Monthly Meetings: To support your scholar, we hope to that you will attend at least one McNair Monthly Meeting during the academic year

Time & Effort Reporting

Faculty mentors are required to submit a time and effort report monthly for each McNair scholar detailing progress on the Undergraduate Research Project based on the U.S. Department of Education grant protocol 

Faculty Mentors must certify scholar has successful completed tasks associated with each phase in order for scholars to be compensated appropriately. Once phase is accepted and approved, the faculty mentor submits approved documentation to McNair Project Director to process and disburse stipend.

Compensation

Faculty mentors will generally receive one-credit load hour during the academic year for mentoring a McNair scholar, pending approval from the appropriate Dean or Department Chair. For the Summer, faculty are compensated for their time. 

The McNair program serves students from all majors, so we recognize that below guidelines are a general outline, please know that the McNair program will rely on your discipline specific expertise to best define and supervise the research proposal process for your scholar. 

Research Phases for Mentors

Phase I - Spring

Project Development & Research Proposal 

  • Faculty mentor will assist scholar in identifying preliminary readings and relevant research
  • Faculty mentor will assist scholar in formulating or further defining their research questions
  • Faculty mentor will support scholar in developing research fluency 
  • Faculty mentor will ensure scholar has adequate sources for literature review
  • Faculty mentor will determine if project requires IRB approval 
  • Faculty mentor will approve final research proposal prior to scholar stipend disbursement

Research Proposal 

  • Problem Statement/ rationale
  • Literature Review
  • Project design/ research methods
  • Research question
  • Anticipated outcome and implications 
  • Project timeline (TBD by faculty & scholar)
  • Potential research material 

Phase II - Summer

Data Collection & Graduate School Preparation 

  • Faculty mentor will determine data collection timeline for Undergraduate Research Project 
  • Faculty mentor will support scholar through 8-week summer research project meeting twice a week 
  • Faculty mentor will supervise and guide scholar through data collection methods, data storage and analysis
  • Faculty mentors will approve data collection completion prior to stipend payment 

Summer Internship Experience 

  • Program runs from June- August 
  • Scholars conduct Data collection
  • Scholars attend Quantitative Analysis course 
  • Scholars attend GRE preparation course 
  • Scholars meet with Faculty mentor weekly for 1.5 hours
  • Scholars meet with McNair Staff bi-weekly 
  • Scholars attend tutoring session in math and writing 
  • Scholars begin the graduate school application preparation

Phase III - Fall 

Final Results/Write Up 

  • Faculty mentor will approve and provide feedback on preliminary findings 
  • Faculty mentor will determine format for the research findings final results 
  • Faculty mentor will approve research findings final results (8- 10 pages) 
  • Faculty mentor will approve completed McNair research project 
  • Faculty mentor will assist with development and final poster design
  • Faculty mentor will assist scholar in identifying conferences to present research
  • Faculty mentor will approve final complete paper (Phase 1-3) 

Professional Development 

  • Faculty mentor & scholar will identify publications and conference opportunities to present research 
  • Scholar will submit completed paper with faculty approval to Project Director to be bound for McNair Library 
  • Scholar will apply to graduate school programs 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions

The McNair Scholars Program is designed for students who intend to earn a PhD only. 

I am interested in study abroad. Will this affect my application?

We encourage scholars to participate in experience that enhance their understanding of self and others. Several McNair Scholars have participated in study abroad. This will not affect your application or, if admitted, your status as a McNair Scholar.

When should I start preparing to apply to graduate school?

At least one year in advance. We encourage all students in our program to begin preparing for the graduate school application process during their junior year.

What are some of the things McNair Scholars get for free?

A GRE prep course, travel to conferences and graduate school fairs, academic and professional workshops, a paid research internship, and course credits, among many other benefits.

Does it matter if I have already done research or been a participant in a research mentorship program?

Research through another program can provide a head start for McNair. It can also provide an opportunity to work with a diverse set of faculty members.

 

Qualifications

Do I qualify? 

To qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, you must be either a low-income as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and first generation college student or a member of group underrepresented in higher education as defined by the U.S. Department of Education  (African-American, Hispanic-Latino, Native American, and Alaskan, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian). 

I am a graduating senior. Can I still apply?

The program works most effectively with students who are entering their junior year. Under special conditions, seniors may apply and be considered depending on their RIC graduation date. If you are a graduating senior, see the Assistant Director to assess your viability as an applicant.

I don’t have a 3.0. Can I still apply?

We recognize that everyone academic journey is unique. We recommend potential scholars with a GPA lower than 3.0 reach out to our Assistant Director. 

Can all majors apply?

The McNair Scholars Program is open to students in all majors at RIC. It is not for students who want to go to a professional school like law school, medical school, pharmacy school, business school, etc.

Can I apply if I already have a bachelor’s degree?

No. The program is focused only on working with students who are working on their first bachelor's degree.

Financial Concerns and Questions

How will I pay for graduate school?

Many graduate students get comprehensive funding packages, and the McNair staff will prepare you to be competitive for institutional and extramural funding opportunities.

Is this a scholarship?

No, this is a research and graduate school preparation program. The McNair Scholars Program does, however, offer a stipend for independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, as well as travel funds for academic conferences and graduate school fairs.

How will the stipend affect my financial aid?

The stipend does not affect your financial aid.

Is it worth my time?

If you are certain you want to earn a PhD, the program is absolutely worth your time. Among other things, the program provides a stipend of $2800, potential travel to academic conferences, a one-year academic research internship, funding for independent research supplies and materials, comprehensive academic advising, and opportunities to build support network with peers and faculty mentors. 

Additional Requirements

Do I need to take the GRE?

Most graduate programs in the U.S. require current GRE scores. The McNair Program offers a Qualitative Analysis and Vocabulary course during the summer to help you practice for the exam as well as wavier that provide 50% off the cost on the GRE. 

Does it matter if I have already done research or been a participant in a research mentorship program?

Research through another program can provide a head start for McNair. It can also provide an opportunity to work with a diverse set of faculty members.

Does McNair Scholars Program require its students to pursue a PhD immediately after obtaining the B.S. or B.A. (and skip the M.S. or M.A. program)?

No. The program expects scholars to apply to both Masters and PhD programs during their senior year as an undergraduate student. Scholars, however, do not have to participate in any graduate program immediately following their completion of their bachelor's degree. The program does, however, expect scholars to obtain a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of attaining their bachelor’s degree.

Are students who are interested in a combined PhD with another professional degree program allowed to apply to the McNair Scholars Program?

Yes. The McNair Scholars Program is specifically designed to assist undergraduates on their entrance to a PhD program. Any other professional endeavor is the sole responsibility of each individual.

Rhode Island College entrance