Troy University’s McNair Scholars program receives renewed federal funding

Retired Navy Capt. Synthia Jones and her husband, Greg, a retired FBI agent, speak during last year's McNair Scholars Speaker Series.

Retired Navy Capt. Synthia Jones and her husband, Greg, a retired FBI agent, speak during last year's McNair Scholars Speaker Series.

Funding for Troy University’s McNair Scholars Program has been renewed through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to provide first generation, low income, and underrepresented student populations the opportunity to increase the attainment of PhD degrees and has been offered at Troy University since 2018. The program, one of seven federal TRIO programs, honors the memory of astronaut Ronald McNair, who died along with other crew members in the 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

TROY was selected to receive $254,625 in funding over the first year of a five-year period. The University was one of 189 nationwide to be awarded a McNair grant.

“When we look at U.S. students studying to become our future physicians, professors, scientists and other crucial professionals requiring graduate degrees, many demographic groups are underrepresented, including first-generation college students and those from low-income families,” said Nasser Paydar, assistant secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education. “McNair grants fund projects at universities and colleges that help underrepresented students to access doctoral programs.”

Dr. Hal Fulmer, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate and First-Year Studies, said the McNair program is a good fit within the University’s overall TRIO efforts.

“Being funded, again, for the McNair Scholars program is a real tribute to the hard work by Dr. Dolo (Diaminah) and others who are committed to helping students succeed,” Dr. Fulmer said. “The McNair Scholars program fits perfectly in the University’s overall TRIO efforts, from the high schoolers in Upward Bound to the undergraduates in Student Support Services to those students who want to go beyond the baccalaureate with the help of McNair. We are excited about helping our selected students in McNair as they move forward in their journey.”

At TROY, McNair Scholars attend two 7-week scholarly research bootcamps per year, where a faculty-facilitator teaches them scholarly research methods, writing, and presentation. Scholars will receive up to $2,800 per year for an approved research project and completion of all research component activities. Additionally, select scholars will have opportunities to travel to research conferences to present their research or to visit campuses of universities with graduate programs that fit their research interests. Successful McNair Scholars will have access to McNair-specific graduate school application fee waivers and scholarships/fellowships offered by a variety of universities throughout the country.

McNair applicants must meet the following criteria to be accepted into the program: be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; be determined to pursue a Doctoral Program and show potential for success in this pursuit; have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher by Fall Term/Semester of the application year; be a Troy University student who has a minimum of 30 credit hours by Fall of the Term/Semester the application year; be a first-generation and low-income student, or a member of an underrepresented minority in doctoral studies. Groups considered to be underrepresented are Hispanic/Latino, African American, Native American/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

“An African adage says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Our ideal Academic TROY Village for raising an underrepresented minority student for a successful completion of doctoral degree consists a fully-staffed McNair team, enthusiastic faculty-mentors, and professors who can spot potential doctors among their students and refer them to us,” said Dr. Dolo Diaminah, director of the program.