McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the grant-funded Federal TRIO Programs designed to assist high-achieving undergraduate students in the quest to obtain a graduate degree, ultimately the PhD. 

This program assists undergraduate students in preparation for graduate studies through various scholarly activities. Students apply who would like to receive financial support for conducting research and who would like to work one on one with a faculty mentor and members of program staff.

Attention StudentsThe application for the McNair Scholars Program 2024 -2025 is now open. Applications and recommendation letters must be submitted no later than March 10, 2024 at 11:59pm (Deadline Extended!). Recommendations are due March 15, 2024 at 11:59PM. Please review the application FAQs prior to applying. Questions? Please contact us at 

Educational Benefits of the McNair Scholars Program

  • Paid research opportunities 
  • Graduate school preparation seminars 
  • Travel and conference opportunities 
  • One-on-one faculty mentoring
  • Graduate school application assistance
  • Assistance with identifification of potential funding sources for graduate study
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Opportunity to write for publication
  • Waiver of application fees for many graduate schools including the University of Cincinnati

Who is Dr. McNair?

Dr. Ronald E. McNair (1950-1986) was America's second African-American astronaut in space and was killed in the space shuttle Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986.

Dr. McNair, despite having come from a low-income household, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A & T University in 1971. Just five short years later, he completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. McNair was the first in his family to obtain a doctorate degree.

Services of the McNair Program

McNair Prep

The McNair Prep Program targets undergraduate students with 30 or more credit hours and gives them the opportunity to conduct scholarly research during the academic year, through faculty mentoring and shadowing. All students participate in campus-based student workshops and seminars that better prepare them for the graduate school admissions process and for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). This program targets 2nd-year students but the application is open to all students with 30 credit hours or more who meet the eligibility requirements. 

Student Eligibility Requirements

To be accepted into the program students must demonstrate that they are goal oriented, highly motivated and high achieving. They must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on 4.0 scale and maintain a 3.0 GPA for continued participation. Students must be able to identify and work with a faculty mentor with help from the program. Students must plan to be enrolled full-time during the 2024-2025 academic year.

Traditional McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program targets students with 60 credit hours or more to assist them in conducting research during their 3rd academic year and continuing into a summer research internship with the faculty of their choosing. The summer component gives students an 8 week paid summer research internship.  Students also participate in a summer graduate school trip and attend regional and national research conferences- all expenses paid by the McNair Program. In order to be accepted into McNair traditional, students must be able to commitment to the summer research internship, presenting at a research conference, and attending the McNair seminars during the academic year. 

Student Eligibility Requirements

To be accepted into the program students must demonstrate that they are goal oriented, highly motivated and high achieving with an interest in attending graduate school. They must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on 4.0 scale and maintain a 3.0 GPA for continued participation. Students must be able to identify and work with a faculty mentor. Must be full-time student with 60 credit hours by entry into program.

Students must also meet the federal eligbility requirements which include being a citizen or permanent residents of the USA. Students may also meet additional federal eligibility requirements regarding first-generation college student statust and federal income requirements. A first-generation college students is a student where neither of their parents hold a bachelor's degree. Please contact the program at for more information. 

McNair Abroad

The McNair Scholars program encourages students to participate in educational study abroad programs and experiences during their academic career. To assist in providing rich opportunities for students, the McNair Program works in collaboration with UC International Programs and the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, to provide service learning opportunities in foreign countries.

These trips are ideal for students who want to study abroad but only for a short time period. Currently, we host 2 trips and while they are only 10 day trips, they result in a very full student experience! The trips are not exclusive to McNair Scholars.  In coordination with the UC International Programs Office, the McNair Scholars Program is committed to ensuring the safety and health of scholars as they study abroad.

Graduate Student Mentor Program

Program pairs senior McNair Scholars with graduate students to assist with the graduate school application process and learn first-hand about graduate school. Graduate student mentors offer a unique "insider's" perspective on what it's like to apply to and attend graduate school.

  • Highly rewarding
  • Not time-intensive

If you are a UC graduate student and interested in becoming a McNair graduate mentor. Please complete this form. 


We have a dedicated staff and group of mentors to support students on the journey from undergraduate to graduate education.

Headshot of Cheri Westmoreland, EdD

Cheri Westmoreland, EdD

Executive Director, McNair Scholars Program and Cincinnati Pride Support Services

Stratford Heights, Building 12


Headshot of Charity Winburn

Charity Winburn

Associate Director, McNair Scholars Program

Stratford Heights, Building 12


Headshot of Ty Fields

Ty Fields

Assistant Director, McNair Scholars Program

Stratford Heights, Building 12


Headshot of Marie Strickland

Marie Strickland

Graduate Assistant, McNair Scholars Program

Stratford Heights, Building 12