CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The success and life-long learning of underserved students is a priority at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the United States Department of Education, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s McNair Scholars Program will continue for another five years. The McNair Scholars Program, a Federal TRIO Program, positively impacts low-income, first-generation and underrepresented undergraduate students pursuing doctoral degrees by involving these students in research and scholarly activities. The new grant starts Oct. 1, 2017.
“Our students epitomize Dr. Ronald McNair’s vision for future generations,” said Dr. Patricia Spaniol-Mathews, Executive Director of the McNair Scholars Program at A&M-Corpus Christi. “He lost his life on the Challenger serving our country. Our McNair Scholars always remember and honor his sacrifice when representing the TAMU-CC McNair Scholars Program at professional conferences throughout the United States.”
Despite facing discrimination as an African-American growing up in a poor community in the South, McNair earned his doctorate degree in laser physics at MIT at the age of 26. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 and was a mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the shuttle Challenger. The McNair Scholars Program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by McNair’s life.
McNair Scholars develop mentor/mentee relationships with faculty in their field of study. Students are introduced to research concepts and techniques used in major research projects. Through the program, McNair Scholars develop summer research projects, present at national conferences and have their works published in the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi McNair Scholars Research Journal.
“The McNair Scholars Program has helped me overcome mountains in advancing my academic career,” said Megan Woods, who’s studying marine biology at A&M-Corpus Christi. “This program opened doors that allowed me the exclusive experience to work alongside experts in my field of study, and it gave me the opportunity to lead others through the knowledge and support provided by the mentors and staff.”
For more information on the McNair Scholars Program, go to mcnair.tamucc.edu.