McNair Scholars Program
ABOUT RONALD E. MCNAIR, Ph.D.:
Ronald Erwin McNair was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. While in junior high school, Dr. McNair was inspired to work hard and persevere in his studies by his family and by a teacher who recognized his scientific potential and believed in him. Dr. McNair graduated as valedictorian from Carver High School in 1967. In 1971, he graduated magna cum laude and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro). Dr. McNair then enrolled in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his Ph.D. in laser physics. His dissertation was titled, “Energy Absorption and Vibrational Heating in Molecules Following Intense Laser Excitation.” Dr. McNair has presented an honorary doctorate of Laws from North Carolina A&T State University in 1978, an honorary doctorate of Science from Morris College in 1980, and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of South Carolina in 1984.
While working as a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratory, Dr. McNair soon became a recognized expert in laser physics. His many distinctions include being a Presidential Scholar (1971-74), a Ford Foundation Fellow (1971-74), a National Fellowship Fund Fellow (1974-75), and a NATO Fellow (1975). He was also a sixth-degree black belt in karate and an accomplished saxophonist. Because of his many accomplishments, he was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978. His first space shuttle mission launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center on February 3, 1984. Dr. Ronald E. McNair was the second African American to fly in space. Two years later he was selected to serve as mission specialist aboard the ill-fated U.S. Challenger space shuttle. He was killed instantly when the Challenger exploded one minute, thirteen seconds after it was launched. Dr. McNair was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. After his death in the Challenger Space Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. Their goal was to encourage low-income and first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program and ultimately pursue an academic career. This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.
RONALD E. MCNAIR SCHOLARS PROGRAM:
The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. Participants of the McNair Program are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education (such as African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Pacific Islander) and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The McNair Program is supported by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Department of Education’s Council for Opportunity in Education.
The objective of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase the number of graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented groups of society. The McNair Program specifically aims to identify and prepare sophomores, juniors and seniors from Fort Valley State University for post-graduate studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.
Highly motivated, disciplined, and hardworking individuals, uprising juniors and seniors, who are:
- US Citizen or permanent Legal resident of the U.S.
- First generation college students with demonstrated financial need
- Historically underrepresented minority at the graduate level
- Good academic standing (2.9 or higher desired)
- Majoring in Physical, Biological or Psychological Sciences
- Demonstrate interest in pursuing graduate studies to obtain a Master’s and/or Doctoral degree upon graduation from an undergraduate institution.
BENEFITS OF MCNAIR SCHOLARS PROGRAM:
- Graduate school application fee waivers
- Standardized test preparation (GRE, MCAT, etc.)
- Discounted GRE price rates
- Summer REU and Internship opportunities
- Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program Brochure