McNair Scholars Program receives five years of continued funding

The McNair Scholars Program offices are located on the 3rd floor of the Learning Resources Center. SNU has been chosen to receive another five years of funding for the program. (Photo by Stephany Reyes)

By Dr. Gwen Ladd Hackler

SNU will receive 5 years of continued funding for the SNU McNair Scholars Program, designed to assist eligible SNU undergraduates in building the skills and confidence required to pursue a doctoral degree. This competitive program targets student scholars who demonstrate sound academic performance, strong potential for success in graduate school, and the intent to pursue a career in which a doctorate is required.

“The McNair Scholars program at SNU has provided life-changing opportunities for students and the resources and support for them to succeed,” said Dr. Loren Gresham, SNU President.

SNU will receive a total of $1,098,935 of federal funding through the U. S. Department of Education’s TRIO Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair Program, one of six federal TRIO programs funded through the Department of Education, is designed to prepare low-income and first-generation students along with those from other groups typically underrepresented in graduate studies. Of the three institutions in the state awarded in this competition, SNU was the only private university in Oklahoma to receive funding.

SNU McNair Scholars program director Dr. Rhonda Crutcher believes students are significantly impacted by their McNair experience: “I have seen the McNair Program make a real and lasting difference in the lives of first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students, many of whom only need a little support and encouragement to realize their full potential, achieve their dreams, and change the trajectory of their families for generations to come. I’m so thrilled that SNU will be given the opportunity to continue this important work.”

SNU’s McNair Scholars Program has served approximately 60 students since 2007. Graduate schools attended by these SNU McNair graduates include Rice University, Duke University, Salem University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, and Oklahoma City University.

Lauren Brand, an SNU McNair student completing graduate work at Rice University, commended the SNU McNair program: “Applying to graduate school can be a complicated, even overwhelming, endeavor. The McNair program gave me the education and support I needed to navigate the process.”

A unique feature of the McNair Program is a paid research internship for each participant. Each McNair Scholar will work directly with at least one Ph.D. faculty mentor and receive individualized academic advising, preparation and mentoring focused on academic achievement, research experience, and professional acculturation. Special assistance is available for students preparing to enter graduate school in the STEM fields of mathematics, computer sciences, engineering, and natural, physical, and biological sciences. McNair Scholars build credentials that enable competitive applications to top graduate schools. Numerous universities across the country offer specially designated scholarships for McNair Scholars accepted into their graduate programs.

Dennis Williams, Dean of the College of Teaching and Learning pointed out the McNair program’s long-term impact on higher education, stating, “This program has been instrumental in preparing SNU students to successfully matriculate into graduate programs in their chosen field and to prepare future professors who will provide transformative education through higher education.”

Further information on SNU’s McNair Scholars Program is available from Dr. Rhonda Crutcher, McNair Program Director at 405-789-6400 ext. 6564 or e-mail