This semester, TRIO launches the Trio McNair Scholars Program to connect undergraduate students with research opportunities that prepare them for graduate school.
The program serves first-generation college students with limited family incomes and members of groups that are underrepresented in graduate education. Students in their junior year who belong to either group and aspire to earn a PhD are encouraged to apply.
“We’re trying to give every student an equal opportunity,” said program advisor Alma Jam. “We believe that this program will help the first-generation student succeed in their academic field and give proper guidelines for them to go to graduate school.”
As part of the program, each accepted McNair Scholar will work with a research and faculty mentor, who respectively guides their mentee through the research and graduate school and networking processes.
In addition to providing academic counseling, tutoring and application assistance, the McNair program allows students to participate in summer research. McNair Scholars will publish research works and participate in academic conferences.
Students are provided with a stipend during their summer research internship.
“Any students who have the research component on their field of study can be a part of it and take a full benefit”, said Kellee Kirkpatrick, assistant professor in the Political Science Department. “The student can identify their mentors and professors from ISU or outside of ISU and trio will coordinate with the pair to work it out.”
The McNair program is competitive in the United States, as 151 institutions have launched the program so far. The program debuts at ISU this year thanks to the help of many departments on campus and a federal grant through the Department of Education under the umbrella of TRIO programs.
The program didn’t come overnight, said Kirkpatrick, who set up a committee to write grants and bring the program to ISU.
“We started writing proposals for the grant in the fall of 2016 and the grant was approved in fall of 2017,” she said.
Applications for ISU’s first cohort of McNair Scholars are due February 16. Jam estimates TRIO will receive at least 30 applications by the deadline.
Potential applicants can download an application from the TRIO website or pick one up from the TRIO office on the fourth floor of the museum building.
“Advertisement has been rapidly going on,” Jam said. “We are working with different departments to increase students’ participation in the program.”