DePaul University Center for Access & Attainment > TRIO McNair > Program Details

McNair Scholars Program Details

Student studying at DePaul
The McNair Scholars Program is designed to build knowledge and skills, improve educational planning and decision-making, and expand participants' horizons and community to enable them to be competitive candidates for graduate study with the goal of completing doctoral degrees.

The program immerses participants in a specialized curriculum and set of activities including seminars, coursework, faculty-supervised research, tutoring and field experiences to develop their knowledge and skills and foster the commitment needed to pursue doctoral studies and a career of university-level teaching and research. Students also participate in faculty mentoring, build academic networks with professors at DePaul and other institutions, and receive the resources and support to study and conduct research abroad.

By their senior year, McNair students are required to complete a number of scholarly activities as they prepare to apply for graduate school and secure graduate funding opportunities. These activities, among others, include attending a summer research program, presenting their independent research projects at professional conferences, completing a study abroad experience and visiting potential graduate schools.​​

​About Ronald McNair

Ronald E. McNair, an African-American engineer, scientist and astronaut, was born on October 12, 1950, in Lake City, S.C. He attended North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in physics in 1971. McNair then enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his PhD in physics.

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 became the second African-American in space between February 3-11, 1984; on his second shuttle flight, he served as mission specialist aboard the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger mission. McNair received three honorary doctorate degrees and many fellowships and commendations.

After his death in the USS Challenger Space Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, under the umbrella of Title IV TRIO Programs, to encourage minority, low-income and first-generation college students to expand their educational opportunities and pursue graduate studies.​

For more information, contact:

McNair Scholars Program
Schmitt Academic Center, Suite 166
2320 N. Kenmore Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 325-4743 | mcnairscholars@depaul.edu​​