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Welcome to the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program


Ronald E. McNair dressed in a NASA suit, standing next to an American flag and a miniature space shuttle model.

About the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (also known as the McNair Scholars Program) is one of 187 such programs nationwide. First established in 1989 and named after Dr. Ronald E. McNair, this program is designed to help academically talented students from traditionally underserved backgrounds reach their potential by earning a doctoral degree.

We work closely to help students prepare for doctoral study through involvement in research and scholarly activities. The purpose of the McNair Program is to assist in the academic and professional development of undergraduates whose goals are to teach and research at the college level. In order to help students achieve those goals, the program sponsors and supports undergraduate experiences that lay the foundation for a successful graduate school experience. By fostering mentoring relationships, promoting undergraduate research, assisting with GRE preparation, and encouraging students to attend and present at conferences, we aim to produce highly competitive graduate school applicants who have the skills and experiences necessary to succeed in their programs.

The McNair Scholars Program is a TRiO program funded through the U.S. Department of Education and The Pennsylvania State University.

Who was Ronald E. McNair?

Ronald McNair was an astronaut-physicist who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Dr. McNair's philosophy of life included the following statement: "Whether or not you reach your goals in life depends entirely on how well you prepare for them and how badly you want them."

Dr. McNair prepared himself for his goals. He grew up in a poor, small town in South Carolina, attended North Carolina A&T as an undergraduate physics major, and enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his graduate degrees in physics. Though the path to obtaining his goals was paved with many obstacles, Dr. McNair had the willingness and ability to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds and overcame the difficulties he encountered.

This page was generated on May 24, 2024 at 10:40 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.