Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Ronald Erwin McNair was born in Lake City, South Carolina. He received a BS degree in physics from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the young age of 26. Dr. McNair became a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratories immediately after receiving the Ph.D. and two years later he became an astronaut candidate with NASA. By 1979 he had qualified for an assignment as a mission specialist astronaut on Space Shuttle flight crews.

Dr. McNair died on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dr. McNair’s death, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program to encourage minority, low-income and first-generation college students to expand their educational opportunities and pursue graduate studies. This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.

The Graduate College at ISU was awarded the federally funded McNair grant in 1996 and is one of approximately 150 programs across the country. McNair scholars are required to have a faculty mentor who guides them from the beginning through the completion of a research project over the course of a two year period. In addition, scholars are afforded the benefits of:

  • Getting to know fellow McNair scholars and others from around the country
  • Tutoring services
  • Attending national McNair conferences to do oral or poster presentations
  • Attending cultural activities
  • Learning how to prepare a research poster
  • Learning how to do oral presentations

… And I am proud to say I am a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program Scholar!! 🙂


Categories: Iowa State, Scholarships

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