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McNair Scholars


TRiO/McNair Scholars Program
Sattgast 207

Phone: (218) 755-2614
Fax: (218) 755-4116

Mailing Address:
1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #22
Bemidji, MN 56601-2907


McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program  prepares high-achieving BSU undergraduates to engage in research and for graduate school programs. Participating students, referred to as McNair Scholars, begin the program by taking a  Research Methods Course in the Fall. During the Summer Research Institute (SRI), McNair Scholars are advised by BSU faculty mentors, graduate students, and program staff. Throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the program provides services aimed at promoting graduate school preparation, career development, research competencies, and writing skills. The core components of the BSU McNair Scholars Program include a Spring Research Methods Course, Summer Research Institute (SRI), Annual Research Symposium, GRE Test Preparation, Travel Grant Awards for Conference Attendance and University Visitations, and Academic & Career Advising.
The McNair Scholars Program is a US Department of Education Federal TRIO Program.    Ronald Erwin McNair was born October 21, 1950 in Lake City, South Carolina. He attended North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. degree in physics in 1971. McNair then enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his Ph.D. in laser physics. His dissertation was entitled, "Energy Absorption and Vibrational Heating in Molecules Following Intense Laser Excitation." McNair soon became a recognized expert in laser physics while working as a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratory. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 and was a mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
In addition to his academic achievements, Dr. McNair received three honorary doctoral degrees and many fellowships and commendations. He also held a fifth degree black belt in karate and was an accomplished jazz saxophonist. He was married and had a son and a daughter.
After his untimely death in the Challenger Space Shuttle accident in January 1986, members of Congress provided funding for the federal Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. The program encourages low-income and first-generation college students and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program.
This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair's life. You can learn more about Ronald E. McNair on NASA's website.