This summer at UNC Greensboro, 17 first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students conducted research and prepared for graduate school, thanks to the McNair Scholars Program.
The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is a U.S. Dept. of Education initiative that prepares first-generation and traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students for doctoral studies. In fall of 2017, UNCG was one of six universities in the state to be selected for the program.
The McNair Summer Research Institute kicked off in early May with a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the Library of Congress, tour graduate schools and meet with senators.
Throughout the intensive eight-week experience, students conducted independent research, prepared for the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), participated in a writing lab and completed an academic professionalization course to prepare for the graduate school application process. Students received a $4,000 stipend, free housing in UNCG’s Spartan Village and additional funds for meals.
Research topics included the retroactive effects of memory in older and younger adults; the effect of tobacco ads on minority communities; student-faculty interactions; and the relationship between artist housing and gentrification.
The program concluded with a research symposium in which students presented their findings before an audience of peers, family, faculty and university staff.
“Over the course of the summer, students really grappled with the highs and lows of academic research,” said D. Clinton Williams, associate director of the program. “They realized research is not a linear process, and often requires a willingness to ask more questions. The access to faculty mentors and graduate students gave the scholars an opportunity see what life is really like in academia, both on a professional and personal level.”
Currently, the students are editing and revising their research papers that they submitted for publication in the UNCG-McNair Online Research Journal, and making plans to attend academic conferences during the upcoming year.
Recruitment for the second UNCG-McNair cohort will begin in August, and the fall kick-off will take place Sept. 26. To learn more about the UNCG-McNair Scholars Program, visit studentsuccess.uncg.edu/uncg-mcnair.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography provided by D. Clinton Williams