Grant helps first-generation, low-income and historically underrepresented undergraduate students attain Ph.D.s
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Clarkson University its seventh Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement grant. The award will total $1.3 million over five years.
The grant assists underrepresented students and first-generation students from low-income backgrounds in the attainment of Ph.D. degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The program is named for Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African-American to fly in space and a member of the Challenger Space Shuttle’s seven-member crew who met a tragic end during a disastrous mission in 1986.
As a tribute to his achievements, Congress and the McNair family formed the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program to assist young people in not only following in McNair’s path, but also taking the initiative to chart their own course.
Since its inception, Clarkson's McNair Scholars Research Program has provided intensive research experience and graduate school preparation to 353 students. Under the new grant, 31 students each year will share the prestige of being a Clarkson McNair Scholar.
"This program offers our students the support, inspiration and access they need to seek an advanced degree," says Associate Vice Provost for Academic Support and Student Engagement Cathy McNamara. "We are honored that the Department of Education recognized the success of our program and students by awarding Clarkson’s McNair Scholars for the next five years."
McNair Scholars participate in a 10-week, in-residence summer research program, which is supplemented by workshops on research ethics, the graduate school application process, graduate school funding sources and preparation for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), among other related topics.
Along with workshops, there are seminars featuring Clarkson McNair alumni who have completed or are in the process of completing their Ph.D. These speakers provide students with knowledge and guidance on the path to that degree.
"The McNair program has taken me every step of the way, from not even knowing what a Ph.D. was, to being accepted at a top-20, Ivy League university with competitive funding," says Herbert Fountain '22. "HEOP and CUPO Director Marjorie Warden and Assistant Director of CUPO Deborah Shipp both work tirelessly to improve the lives of their students and increase opportunities for those traditionally underrepresented in STEM."
Today, Clarkson’s McNair Program has a 99% graduation rate; 39% of its graduates have obtained a master’s degree; 13% have obtained a Ph.D.; and 4% have obtained a professional degree – all well above the national averages.
The McNair Program is directed by Director of HEOP & Community Underrepresented Professional Opportunities Marjorie Warden, and Assistant Director Deborah Shipp , and Assistant Director Shannon Marlatt..