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Founded in 1996 in honor of Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D., the
laser physicist and Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut, the Gannon
University TRIO McNair Scholars Program was funded by the U.S.
Department of Education in October of 2017. The program annually
serves 25 eligible undergraduate Gannon students who are interested
in engaging in undergraduate research and other scholarly
activities, pursuing a graduate education, and earning a doctorate
McNair participants are either first-generation college
students with financial need, or members of a group that is
traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have
demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair
Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students
from underrepresented segments of society.
Ronald Erwin McNair was born October 21, 1950 in Lake City, South
Carolina. While in junior high school, Dr. McNair was inspired to work hard and
persevere in his studies by his family and by a teacher who recognized his
scientific potential and believed in him. Dr. McNair graduated as valedictorian
from Carver High School in 1967. In 1971, he graduated magna cum laude and
received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from North Carolina A&T State
University (Greensboro). Dr. McNair then enrolled in the prestigious
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his
Ph.D. in laser physics. His dissertation was titled, “Energy Absorption and
Vibrational Heating in Molecules Following Intense Laser Excitation.” Dr.
McNair was presented an honorary doctorate of Laws from North Carolina A&T
State University in 1978, an honorary doctorate of Science from Morris College
in 1980, and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of South
Carolina in 1984.
Students must meet one of the following criteria:
First generation student
WITH financial needs
A member of an
underrepresented group in graduate education
A member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate
education; Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan
Native, (as defined in section 7306 of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), Native Hawaiians (as
defined in section 7207 of the ESEA), and Native American Pacific
Islanders (as defined in section 320 of the HEA).
Student must also:
Download the program application. Applications can also be picked up at the McNair office located
in Nash Library lower level room 036. Completed applications and essays can be emailed to Julie Pecoraro at firstname.lastname@example.org or Charmaine Wilson at email@example.com.
The McNair Scholars Program is extremely beneficial when
applying to graduate school. It is designed to prepare
undergraduate students by providing services designed to enhance
successful entry into post-baccalaureate education. It demonstrates
that the student is capable of going beyond course requirements and
is truly interested in learning about how an academic discipline
approaches problem solving. Additionally, undergraduate research
training provides the skills and knowledge essential for success in
the workplace. Other benefits include:
*Travel funds are contingent upon program participation and are
granted at the discretion of the director.
The McNair Summer Research Institute promotes research between
scholars and faculty mentors that are instrumental in preparing
undergraduate students for successful entry into graduate programs.
For 8 weeks, rising juniors and/or seniors participate in research
with faculty; standardized test preparation; writing a statement of
purpose; and graduate school exploration. In addition, McNair
Scholars present their current research findings at the end of the
summer program at the Gannon Gallery of Engagement Symposium.
Charmaine WilsonMcNair Director814-871-7838 Wilson081@gannon.edu 109 University Square Erie, PA 16541 Nash Library 036
Julie Pecoraro McNair Coordinator 814-871- 7194 firstname.lastname@example.org 109 University Square Erie, PA 16541 Nash Library 038
McNair. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from