FVSU Receives $1.3 Million to Continue McNair Program

Funding aims to increase the number of first-generation, underrepresented students attaining Ph.D. degrees

Aug. 24, 2022

Fort Valley State University (FVSU) was recently awarded $1.3 million in federal funding through the Office of TRIO College Access Programs to continue programming for the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Project through 2027.

The grant cycle spans for five years and will serve 25 first-generation, income-eligible students annually. Fort Valley State University is one of 189 national grantees, one of five grantees in the state of Georgia, and one of two HBCUs in the state to host the McNair project.

Led by Davida Curtis, Ph.D., PI, and director of McNair and Student Support Services projects, this competitive grant was awarded to FVSU to prepare eligible participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. These activities will include summer internships, seminars, and programming designed to assist students in securing admission to and financial assistance for enrollment in graduate programs.

“Receiving the new McNair funding will prove to be a game changer for years to come. We are one of only five recipients in the state of Georgia,” said Davida Curtis, Ph.D., executive director, TRIO College Access Programs. “It opens the door even further for our Wildcats to enter the Academy as doctoral scholars and to make significant improvements in the sciences and on our way of life.”

Program staff will work closely with students to ensure they complete their undergraduate requirements, improve financial and economic literacy, receive faculty mentorship, and gain exposure to cultural events and other academic programs. The project’s ultimate goal is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees among students underrepresented in graduate studies and to diversify the professorate.

The McNair Scholars program is a national initiative funded by the Department of Education and was formed to recognize and commemorate the achievements of the late Dr. Robert E. McNair, scholar, astronaut, and LASER physicist. After his death in the Challenger explosion in 1986, members of Congress funded the McNair project to encourage students from low-income, first-generation college backgrounds or students from groups underrepresented in graduate study to enroll in graduate programs. The FVSU McNair program, under the leadership of Dr. Curtis, will be dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life and work