McNair Scholars Program

"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, PhD

The McNair Scholars Program, a TRiO program, was established in 1986 in memory of astronaut-physicist and Challenger crew member Dr. Ronald E. McNair. After his death, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, which is dedicated to the high standard of achievement that Dr. McNair represented. The overall goal of this TRiO program is to increase the numbers of underrepresented groups in graduate education by providing enriching experiences, support, and guidance to program participants. McNair Scholars are required to conduct an independent research project under the guidance of an experienced university faculty member from his or her discipline. This type of work prepares the Scholar for graduate-level research.

The research includes the following:
  • Development and completion of original research idea
  • Development of professional research paper
  • Course credit
  • Research stipend
  • Room and board for those who qualify
  • Presentation of research at national conferences
Scholars are also highly encouraged to pursue additional research in off-campus research internships

Eligibility Requirements

  • Sophomore or Junior OLLU Student
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • SERIOUS Interest in earning a PhD, EdD, or other doctoral programs approved by the Department of Education
  • First generation college student who meets income criteria set by the U.S. Education Department OR Member of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education as defined by the U.S. Education Department (Hispanic, African American, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Native American Pacific Islander)
Special Note: Individuals whose sole interest is obtaining a professional doctorate such as the Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Juris Doctorate (JD), or Medical Doctorate (MD) are not eligible for the program, unless interested in the possibility of a dual degree (JD/PhD, MD/PhD, etc.). Individuals with such interests are encouraged to apply.

Application Requirements:

  • Completed application
  • 300-word essay
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation (from OLLU faculty members)
  • Copy of most recent income tax forms

About TRiO

While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRiO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. In support of our nation's commitment to providing educational opportunity for all Americans, Congress established a series of programs to help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. These programs are funded by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRiO Programs.