McNair Scholars

McNair Scholars Program

The life of ronald e. mcnair

Ronald E. McNair was best known for his illustrious service to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. McNair was born October 12, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. He attended North Carolina AT&T State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1971 with a BS in Physics. McNair then enrolled in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned a Ph.D. in Physics.

McNair 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 was a mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the shuttle Challenger.

Ronald McNair was tragically killed in the Challenger accident in 1986. After his death, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program to encourage first generation and multicultural college students to enroll in graduate studies.

The uw-whitewater mcnair program

The UW-Whitewater McNair Program prepares first-generation, low-income, and multicultural students for masters and doctoral study as well as eventual careers as faculty. The program:

  • Provides educational and professional role models
  • Introduces students to high-quality research settings
  • Improves student skills and profiles so they can complete rigorous courses of academic study, with special emphasis on qualitative, computer, writing, interpersonal, and test-taking skills; research methods; critical thinking.
  • Assists students in acquiring fellowships, graduate assistantships, and related positions so that they can pursue doctoral study
  • Little or no loan burden


A central feature of the program is the mentoring provided by UW-Whitewater faculty where each scholar receives guidance in working on a research project, as well as regular contact with a professional role model. The research component requires each scholar to complete a research project and present that project at a professional conference. Scholars participate in a research internship during their second summer at a university, regional, or national research center.



Application Deadline: February 3rd 2017


Ronald McNair