TRIO McNair Scholars Program

McNair Scholar Graduates

TRIO McNair Scholars Program

The TRIO McNair Scholars program inspires and empowers first generation students with financial need and underrepresented students of color to succeed in doctoral study and advanced careers through an equitable and inclusive community engaged in research, scholarship and comprehensive personal development at the undergraduate level.

How do I become a scholar?

McNair consists of focused and challenging seminars, as well as intensive research completed by undergraduate students who are eligible, motivated and able to complete doctoral study. To be eligible to apply you must be:

  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Enrolled in an institution of Higher Education with the intention of completing a Bachelor's degree
  • Seniors may apply but must have completed research the summer prior to their graduation.
  • Income eligible (as defined by the Department of Education) AND first-generation (neither natural/adoptive parent has a Bachelor's degree)
  • Be a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education (African American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaska Native, or of Hispanic heritage).
  • STEM majors and sophomores are especially encouraged to apply!

What do I need to apply?

Prior to completing the McNair application, please review McNair eligibility information first.

  • Prior to other components, please complete the online application.
  • In up to 500 words, submit a personal statement that addresses the following points to
    • What unique contributions will you bring to the TRIO McNair Scholars Program?
    • What field of study are you interested in pursuing? Why?
    • How will graduate education support your career goals?
    • What are your research experiences and/or areas of interest for summer research?
  • Request an unofficial transcript to be sent to the McNair Scholars office (Tower Hall 2139).
  • Forward two recommendations, one from a faculty member and one from a member in your support system, using the recommendation form.
  • Submit a SIGNED copy of the income documentation form that indicated your taxable income (independent students) or your parents' taxable income (dependent students).


  • Submit a SIGNED copy of your 2016 tax return that indicates your taxable income (independent students) or a SIGNED copy of your parents' 2016 tax return (dependent students).

McNair applications are opened at the beginning of each academic year. Priority is given to complete applications submitted by October 1, 2017 although applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you have any questions, concerns, or require accommodations, please email our office at

Activities & Seminar Topics

Scholars are provided with many services through the McNair Program. If selected, students are taught to:

  • Identify and secure a paid summer research position.
  • Identify and obtain information about appropriate graduate programs.
  • Learn about scholarships and fellowships for graduate study.
  • Prepare application or scholarship forms and edit personal statements.
  • Secure letters of recommendation for graduate school applications.

In addition, they will receive the following:

  • Academic seminars in fall and spring.
  • Lunch and Learns in the summer.
  • Field Experiences throughout the year.
  • Graduate School Intensive in summer.
  • Summer Research Intensive in fall.
  • Coordinating research with academic departments.
  • Publication of your research.
  • Present research at poster sessions including the TRIO McNair Research Symposium.
  • Group graduate school visits during the summer.
  • Career and academic advising.
  • Attendance at discipline-specific conferences.
  • Referral to other campus resources to help you meet academic requirements.
  • Individual tutoring for any course at no cost.
  • Coordinating services with Student Support Services.
  • Receive specialized instruction for applying to nationally competitive scholarships.

Grant # ~ P217A120010
This Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is 100% federally funded at $242,600 annually through the U.S. Department of Education.

Contact Us

Troy Abfalter, MA
Tower Hall 2139
(218) 625-4833

Rachel Phelps-Horton
Academic Coordinator
Tower Hall 2132
(218) 723-6088

McNair Inquiry Form

"The McNair program really opened my eyes to the possibility of going to grad school. I was able to visit graduate schools and speak with professors, ask questions, and really see that this could be my future."

– Diana Mena, '17