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
  • $2800 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

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

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

Contact Us:
Cristal Lopez, MA
McNair Project Specialist
Phone: 210-434-6711, ext. 2590
Fax :  210-431-3946




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Please keep in contact with the McNair Staff, it is essential that you update the McNair Staff with any news regarding graduate degree attainment. 
You may also download the alumni contact form and email it to by clicking the submit button, fax it to 210-432-4463, or scan and email it. 

18th Annual McNair Scholars End of Year Banquet

OLLU McNair grad part of Ares I-X moon rocket launch
OLLU chemistry graduate works on NASA moon rocketThe first test flight of NASA’s new moon rocket in late October generated international media coverage. Behind the scenes of the launch was a graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University chemistry department, a woman who helped design and assemble the rocket motor.

Yvonne Villegas-Aguilera (‘02) is a solid propulsion systems engineer who monitored the temperature and performance of the rocket motor from Mission Control.
Read more

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