TRIO Programs

McNair Scholars Program

Expanding higher education opportunities.

The McNair Scholars Program encourages 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 pursuing an academic career. We designed our program specifically for STEM majors. We are a year-round graduate school preparatory program with an eight-week summer research component designed to prepare first-generation undergraduates demonstrating the strong academic potential for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. The program provides research opportunities, faculty mentors, opportunities to publish and present research findings, and assistance with the graduate school application process.

The U.S. Department of Education fully funded the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and named it in honor of Dr. Ronald McNair, an African American astronaut. He died in the 1986 Challenger explosion. President George W. Bush posthumously awarded McNair the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

On January 28, 1986, Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. The late Dr. Rubye J. Byrd, the Morehouse College TRIO director for 40 years, was instrumental in fighting for this program to receive funding.


Highly motivated, disciplined, hard-working, college-level rising juniors and seniors, who are:

  • U.S. 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 (3.0 or higher GPA desired)
  • Majoring in physical, biological, or psychological sciences
Program Benefits
  • Eight-week paid summer research program plus room/board
  • Research and graduate school application assistance
  • Interactive workshops and seminars
  • Travel assistance to present research nationally
  • Graduate school tours
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Research with a faculty mentor
  • Counseling and advising sessions
  • GRE reduction waivers
  • GRE prep classes monthly and during the summer
  • Cultural events and activities
  • Networking opportunities
  • Support for publishing research findings
  • Opportunities for personal and academic development
  • Involvement in professional development activities

You must:

  • Contact and confirm the participation of a faculty advisor to support and supervise the research program.
  • Participate in a research experience with a faculty mentor. You must meet and consult with your advisor regularly throughout the term.
  • Attend McNair Summer Courses (Research Methodology, GRE Prep, and Professional Development)
  • Submit preliminary assignments and final research paper that should reflect the time spent engaged in research (15-20 pages)
Why Participate in Our Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is committed to providing the support and tailored services that enhance your collegiate experience. We strive to promote an environment designed to give you the support, tools, and worldly experiences to succeed as highly competitive scholars and leaders by addressing your academic and personal needs to improve your chances for success at the graduate level.

The McNair program focuses on preparing our participants for successful graduate study through exposure to graduate-level work and research experiences geared toward improving your critical thinking skills. The McNair experience fosters an increase of knowledge and familiarity with the ins and outs of graduate study and the graduate school application process, and the essential elements of research.

We are confident that our support and guidance combined with your abiding drive and determination will ensure you reach a level of academic, personal, and professional success beyond comparison.

What You’ll Do As a McNair Scholar
  • Conduct Research
  • Prepare extensively for graduate study
  • Work closely with Division of Science & Mathematics Faculty
  • Develop Leadership Skills
  • Are eligible for Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society
  • Attend Professional Conferences
  • Visit Potential Graduate Schools
  • Have opportunities to Publish in Peer-Reviewed Journals
Application and Information
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Dr. Valerie Bennett
Program Manager 
(470) 639-0307

Frank Lawrence, Jr.
Program Coordinator 
(470) 639-0204

Ethell Vereen, Jr., PhD
Research Coordinator 
(470) 639-0534