June 30, 2005

McNair Scholars to report on their research

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McNair Scholars will report on original research they conducted this summer during a symposium Friday, July 8, in Life Science III Auditorium (Room 1059).

Presentations by scholars in applied sciences and arts, education and human services, engineering, liberal arts, and mass communications and media arts begins at 9:30 a.m. with a lunch break at noon and a half-hour awards ceremony set for 3:30 p.m.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program channels federal dollars to 155 universities across the country to foster graduate school aspirations in two groups of college students — those who are the first in their low-income families to attend college and those from minority groups whose members don’t usually go on to earn doctoral degrees. McNair, an African-American physicist, died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion.

SIUC, which has a long tradition of educating minority and first-generation college students, began its five-year program last summer. Its scholars take part in an introductory orientation covering such topics as graduate school selection, preparing for the Graduate Record Examination, time management and teamwork. They work with faculty mentors on individual projects during the summer and in the fall enroll in a class that focuses on helping them succeed as undergraduates, graduate students and new faculty members.

Acquiring funding to recruit and retain graduate students is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the University’s development by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.