The goal of the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is to increase the attainment of the Ph.D. by students from underrepresented groups. Named for Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the program was launched federally in 1989 and exists at 200 colleges and universities across the country. The St. Lawrence McNair Scholars Program encourages the pursuit of doctoral study by involving students in multiple research-intensive experiences and providing extensive advising by faculty mentors. In addition, students named McNair Scholars receive grant-funded stipends for their research work and opportunities to visit graduate schools and attend professional conferences, as well as monetary assistance in support of program goals.
The McNair program is a highly competitive program open to those students from economically disadvantaged families who are first-generation college students, and those from groups considered underrepresented in doctoral programs. Applicants must be of sophomore or junior standing and have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.8. The application deadline is in September and students are encouraged to meet with staff at the beginning of the semester to obtain an application.