The McNair Scholars program at West Virginia University is once again giving first-generation and underrepresented college students the opportunity to pursue graduate studies.
Federally-funded by the TRIO Program, the McNair Scholars program prepares students for doctoral programs through immersion in research, partnership with faculty and attendance at academic conferences.
“We’re encouraging students to apply early because the selection process is highly competitive,” says Betty Mei, the McNair Scholars director. “This year, we only have fifteen openings to fill.”
To apply, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
• The student must be a first generation and low income student OR a member of an underrepresented group (African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander).
• The student must be either a full-time sophomore or junior. Seniors who are graduating after May 2016 also can apply.
• The student should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
• The student should be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
• The student should have a desire to pursue a graduate degree.
Benefits include $2,400 in stipends, graduate school and GRE preparation, research opportunities with WVU faculty, free conference travel and campus visits, cultural activities and an opportunity for publication.
McNair Scholars participate in a six-week summer research internship and year-round graduate school preparation seminars. They also conduct a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor and present research at a national McNair conference.
McNair scholars have excelled academically at WVU. Former McNair scholars have received national-level scholarships and fellowships, including the Goldwater Scholarship, the Gilman Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Since the beginning of WVU’s program in 1999, there have been 13 McNair alumni who have attained doctoral degrees, and there are more than 20 WVU McNair alumni who currently are in doctoral programs across the country.
“For any student that dreams of pursuing graduate studies, but lacks the skill sets and direction for how to achieve their goal, the McNair Program will arm you with a toolbox of skills that will make you extremely competitive for admission to graduate schools,” says Rachel James, a 2012 McNair Scholar. “It’s a great program, and the connections you build with the McNair staff and your fellow cohort members are priceless.”
The McNair Scholars Program is now accepting applications for the 2016 class. Students who are interested should visit http://mcnair.wvu.edu/.