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McNair Scholars

Mission Statement

CWU McNairThe mission of the CWU McNair Scholars Program is to help low-income, first generation college students and students underrepresented in graduate education, reach their goals of attaining doctoral degrees. Funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of Education, there are 158 programs on campuses nationwide. CWU is proud to have been one of the original McNair institutions in the country, and among the first in Washington state. The program works with students who have a stated interest in obtaining a Ph.D. and helps them prepare for successful application to, and completion of, a graduate-degree program. This includes GRE preparation, graduate school visits, faculty-mentored independent research, opportunities to present research findings at conferences around the country, academic advising, and elective credit for McNair seminars.

The CWU McNair Scholars Program is an integral component of CWU’s mission  “to prepare students for responsible citizenship, responsible stewardship of the earth, and enlightened and productive lives.” McNair Scholars learn that by participating in the program, they are part of an investment by the U.S. Department of Education and Central Washington University in the diversification of advanced-degree holders. A commitment to the social good undergirds the operations of the McNair Scholars Program and manifests in the way we select, mentor, and support McNair Scholars and manage the program’s resources.

Program Objectives:

We are funded to serve 27 new and continuing students for each project year. While we may provide a range of graduate school preparation services, all participants will participate in the following:

  • Mentored research with a faculty member,
  • GRE pre-test and workshop, and
  • Four McNair Seminars (MCNA 301, 302, 303 and 395)

Our objectives, as stated in Federal grant are:

  1. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the McNair participants will complete research or scholarly activities that will directly impact their educational progression during each McNair Program academic year.
  2. Ninety-two percent (92%) of new participants served in each McNair Program academic year will attain a baccalaureate degree within three years of their entrance into the McNair Program.
  3. At least fifty percent (50%) of the bachelor degree recipients will enroll in a post-baccalaureate program by the fall term of the academic year immediately following completion of that degree.
  4. Twelve percent (12%) of the McNair participants will attain a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of the attainment of the bachelor’s degree.

Program Objectives in Practice:

McNair Scholars will:

  • Become familiar with doctoral studies; the role of research; the role of the dissertation, residency, and grade requirements; and the importance of interpersonal communication skills.
  • Become familiar with the planning process for doctoral study, including comprehension of standardized tests; admission requirements; interviews; financial aid and fellowship applications; housing costs; advisement; and support service availability.
  • Develop appropriate knowledge to support doctoral study such as availability and use of library resources; computer access; foreign language ability; academic writing; and data compilation and analysis.
  • Develop research skills with hands-on experience in research principles and design; problem-solving techniques; and dissemination of research results in both a written and oral fashion.
  • Understand how to network and establish professional relationships with mentors, teachers, and peers; and how to maintain supportive relationships with family and friends.
  • Understand institutional procedure and process and to further develop the capacity to make long-range plans in light of realistic expectations.
  • Develop self-confidence and serve as community leaders, mentors and role models for other disadvantaged persons.

Program Eligibility:

  • 3.1 major GPA; 2.9 cumulative GPA,
  • Junior-standing (90 credits) by the beginning of the summer research fellowship (may be sophomore at time of entry),
  • Stated interest in pursuing a Ph.D. or joint-degree Ph.D. program (i.e. J.D./Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.),
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, and
  • First-generation college student with a family income less than 150% of the federal poverty level, based on family size, and/or Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.