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McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program at Southeastern is designed to provide 25 underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation students with mentoring from staff and faculty, academic counseling, tutoring, and opportunities to conduct and present research. Through seminars, lectures, and a summer research institute geared to providing information on applying to graduate school, teaching assistantships, and developing a research-based thesis, SE’s McNair Scholars will be prepared to successfully  complete  graduate school studies. Scholars are encouraged to continue through the attainment of the Ph.D.


About Open Close

Southeastern Oklahoma State University has been awarded the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program grant through U.S. Department of Education. Known as the McNair Scholars Program, this is a TRIO program that supports the development of research skills and expected graduate school enrollment of a group of select students.

The McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program is one of eight federally funded TRIO programs offered within universities and colleges throughout the nation. TRIO programs offer both outreach and academic support services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who need assistance navigating the academic pipeline from high school to post-secondary education.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program was created in his honor by the U.S. Department of Education in 1989. Dr. McNair was one of seven crew members killed in the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.

Services Open Close

Opportunities for research and other scholarly activities that are designed to provide students with effective preparation for doctoral study; summer internships; seminars; tutoring; academic counseling; assistance to students to secure admission to, and financial assistance for, enrollment in graduate programs; financial and economic literacy including planning for postsecondary education costs; faculty mentoring program; and access to cultural activities.

Program activities focus on:

  • Graduate school advising
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Summer research
  • Academic advising
  • GRE preparation
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Cultural activities

Program Services:

  • Academic, career, and personal guidance
  • Faculty mentoring
  • Library mentoring
  • Annual $2,800 summer research stipend
  • Participation in a summer research project
  • Opportunities to present and publish research
  • Funded conference travel (pending funding availability)
  • Assistance in applying to graduate school
  • GRE preparation workshops and fee waivers
  • Application fee waivers for many graduate programs
  • Assistance in applying for fellowships, grants, and other financial support
  • Graduate school visits
  • Workshops to support academic and personal development


Goals and Objectives Open Close

McNair will provide academic and support services designed to increase eligible students’ participation in research and scholarly activities, the retention in and completion of undergraduate programs, and academic successes that will also increase the likelihood the Scholars will enroll in and complete graduate programs.

Guiding Principles for the McNair Scholars Program including the measurable goals are:

  1. McNair Scholars will ENGAGE in their academic plan through goal-setting in regards to their academic growth, monitor the progress towards those goals, and advocate for themselves to access support in meeting their goals;
  2. McNair Scholars will ENROLL in Introduction to Research and Senior Seminar courses as indicated in the program schedule at 80% proficiency in both courses;
  3. McNair Scholars will PARTICIPATE in research projects aligned with their field of study;
  4. McNair Scholars will DEVELOP a self-defined research project and 100% of those completing the research projects will present their findings at a poster presentation;
  5. Year-2 Scholars will serve as peer mentors to Year-1 Scholars and engage in leadership training.


How to Apply Open Close

Students who meet the following criteria may apply to the program

  • Undergraduate student who has completed at least 45 hours (not enrolled in graduate coursework)
  • Senior standing students must have one year remaining at SE
  • US citizenship or residency
  • A minimum 2.75 Grade Point Average or above
  • Status as a first-generation college student with low-income eligibility and/or a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education
  • Have not enrolled in any graduate-level courses


You need to have two faculty members submit a recommendation for you to participate in the McNair program. At least one of these faculty members will need to have a terminal degree (higher academic degree in their degree) or have a doctoral degree within your degree field.

You should communicate with the faculty about your interest in this program and your hope to get their recommendation before submitting this application.  Consider the following statement to include in this communication:

“Dr. (Faculty), I am interested in the new McNair Scholars program here on campus. It is a program that will help me develop skills necessary to be successful in graduate studies. Would you be willing to complete a recommendation form supporting my application to this program? Once I submit my application, the McNair staff will send a link to a form for you to submit your recommendation. Thank you for your support.”

Once you have requested to have recommendation letters completed, please submit your application to the McNair Scholars Program. You will need to submit your educational information and income verification. If anything additional is needed, the McNair staff will contact you. Then, the McNair staff will send a link to your chosen faculty members to complete in order for your recommendations to be submitted.

An interview with the McNair staff and McNair Advisory Board members is required to be completed for all qualifying and eligible students. The interview can be in person or via Zoom. It will take approximately 15-30 minutes.


Once accepted into the program, you will be paired with a Faculty Mentor. You will need to have monthly meetings during the Fall and Spring semesters and two meetings a week during the Summer semester. You will be expected to participate in research and scholarly activities with the McNair Scholars Program throughout the year.

Contact Us

If you have questions or would like to refer a student, please contact Darla Ellett at 580-745-3306 or


Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars) is 100% funded by a federal grant through the U. S. Department of Education in the amount of $261,888 annually.