UC Awarded $880,000 Federal Grant To Build Diversity Among Students Earning Graduate Degrees

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the University of Cincinnati an $880,000 grant from the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program to build diversity in graduate-level careers. The award amounts to $220,000 annually over a four-year period.

The federally-funded Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is geared toward supporting high-achieving first-generation, low-income and/or minority students who want to pursue a PhD.

The grant provides students with opportunities to become involved in research and scholarly activities. The program is named in honor of Ronald E. McNair, an African American astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion, his second mission in space.

Suzette Combs, director of UC’s Pre-Professional Advising Center, is responsible for the initial implementation of the project. She says the UC program will provide staff, programming and mentoring for 30 UC undergraduates each year as they work toward acceptance into a graduate-level degree program. Student recruitment is expected to get underway in the next month.

“This is a highly-competitive grant program among institutions of higher education, and UC will have one of the nation’s largest McNair programs,” Combs says. Russell Curley, director of UC Educational Service, was the principal investigator for the UC grant.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the federal government’s TRIO programs that help students succeed in college. The first of the TRIO programs, authorized as a national program in 1966, was Upward Bound, which prepares high school students for success in college. UC’s Upward Bound program, established in 1968, is one of the oldest programs in the nation and serves students from Cincinnati Public and Princeton Schools throughout the year. A third TRIO program on UC’s campus, the Student Support Services Program, provides services such as tutoring and counseling to help disadvantaged students stay on the pathway to academic success.

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