McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars Program encourages, supports, and assists academically promising juniors and non-graduating seniors who have been historically underrepresented in various fields to pursue education and gain their terminal degrees. This is done by providing students with enhancement workshops, a faculty mentor, summer research experience, and preparation for graduate school.

McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is a federal program funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant. This grant enables the TRIO/McNair Scholars Program at Southeast Missouri State University to provide the experience of scholarly research/graduate work and collaboration opportunities with faculty as students prepare for graduate school.


Applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Successful completion of 60+ credit hours at the time of program entry
  • Commitment to attend graduate school in pursuit of: Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., or D.S.W.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent U.S. resident
  • First-generation college student (neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree) who meets federal low-income guidelines or member of traditionally under-represented ethnic population (includes most U.S. ethnic minorities)
  • This is a selective admission program. To verify eligibility, applicants must complete the preliminary application to move forward with the interview process and formal application.

All of the following services are provided through federal funding and are free for active TRIO/McNair Scholars. The services are designed to provide students with effective preparation for doctoral study:

  • Academic counseling
  • Assistance in navigating the graduate school application and financial process
  • Graduate School application fee waivers
  • Graduate School visits
  • GRE Preparation workshops and two half-off fee waivers
  • Collaborative student/faculty research
  • College Success and Financial Responsibility Seminars
  • Mentoring program with student, faculty, and staff
  • Paid Research Internship
  • Travel opportunities to present research at regional and national conferences (all expenses paid by Program)

What does first-generation mean?

The U.S. Department of Education defines first-generation education as any students whose parents, both mother and father, natural or adoptive, have not graduated from a four-year institution of higher education.

How is low-income defined?

Low-income status is based upon guidelines published annually by the U.S. Department of Education. The term "low-income individual" means a person whose family's taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level amount.

What groups are considered under-represented?

The following ethnic and racial groups are considered under-represented by the U.S. Department of education: Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

Responsibilities and Benefits

  • Conduct research project with a chosen faculty mentor
  • Submit at least 10-page research paper, PowerPoint presentation, and poster presentation
  • Present research at MO-KAN-NE McNair Heartland Research Conference
  • Attend weekly McNair Moment Meetings and GRE Prep each semester
  • Attend both the winter and summer Research Institutes
  • Each Scholar will receive a stipend
  • Traveling opportunities to conference and graduate school visits at no cost to the Scholar
  • Each Scholar will receive two 50% off GRE fee waivers

Application Process

First Step: Preliminary Application Second Step: Intake interview with program staff Third Step: Complete formal application, and provide three references, two of which from Southeast Faculty members and the third from Southeast Staff member. You'll also need to provide a two-page Statement of Purpose outlining interest in TRIO/McNair Scholars Program. Guidelines can be found within the McNair Formal Application.


Computer Lab with Free Printing

The TRIO Computer Lab is located in the University Center in room 206. The lab is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the academic year and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. Printing is free to all TRIO/McNair Scholars.

Graduate School Prep Lounge

The lounge is located in the University Center in room 206. The lounge is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the academic year and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. Scholars can utilize the lounge to prepare their applications for graduate school and utilize the prep resources, such as the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT books and flashcards, research design material, prospective graduate student guidance material, and much more.

Fellowship and scholarship resources description
Southeast Missouri State University - Scholarships The University has a list of Southeast, State, and External scholarships that could help you pay to finish your degree.
Scholarship Central Your free online portal to local and regional scholarship and interest-free loan programs. Scholarship Central's opportunities are for students who live in metro St. Louis (including Illinois) or the state of Missouri.
AERA - Funding Opportunities The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.
America's Career Infonet Search more than 8,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities.
NBCC Foundation Minority Fellowship Program The National Board of Certified Counselors strategy is to award scholarships to individuals pursuing careers as professional counselors who are affiliated with high-priority populations and commit to serving them after graduation. Capacity-building grants fund expansion efforts to increase mental health resources in rural and minority communities where access to mental health care is extremely limited. Scholars and Fellows participate in innovation training to expand effective practice in their communities.
NASA STEM Engagement Opportunities NASA internships and fellowships leverage NASA's unique missions and programs to enhance and increase the capability, diversity and size of the nation's future STEM workforce. Internships are available from high school to graduate level. Internships provide students with the opportunity to participate in either research or other experiential learning, under the guidance of a mentor at NASA.
National Fellowship Opportunities Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships or grants from national, international, industrial, or foundation sources.
Pathways to Science The mission of the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) is to increase diversity in the STEM workforce. Since 2003 IBP has connected underrepresented students with STEM funding & research opportunities and has provided faculty and administrators with tools and resources to help promote the positive factors that keep underrepresented students on the STEM pathway into successful STEM careers. We design and implement strategies to increase access to STEM education, funding, and careers, with special emphasis on diverse underrepresented groups. We believe that diversifying the STEM workforce is the best way to ensure our nation's economic vitality and solve global challenges.
White House Internships The mission statement adopted in 1964 by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships: The purpose of the White House Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated emerging leaders with some first-hand experience in the process of governing the Nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society.

TRIO Scholars

Through the TRIO/McNair Scholars Program, a number of students will be represented as scholars where they work directly with a mentor to complete research.


Faculty mentors are involved directly with a student scholar to assist with their research, identify applicable conferences, and help with other needs throughout the semester.

The Inspiration for the McNair Scholars Program

"At the age of 26, Ronald Erwin McNair earned his Ph.D. in laser physics from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was selected by NASA to serve as mission specialist aboard the ill-fated U.S. Challenger Space Shuttle. Dr. McNair was the second African American to fly in space. 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, 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."

Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D.

Image of Ronald E. McNair, inspiration for McNair Scholars Program
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