Student Diversity, Engagement and Success

McNair Scholars

Applications for the UW Whitewater McNair Scholars Program are now being accepted on a rolling basis, though the regular application deadline to participate in the upcoming 2021 Summer Research Institute has passed. The new priority application deadline to participate in is October 31, 2021. After October, applications will continue to be reviewed and acceptances are made as rosters spots are available. The UW Whitewater McNair Scholars Program is limited to only 30 eligible undergraduate students per year. If you have questions, contact the McNair Staff with questions at or contact Karen Collins, the Director of McNair Scholars directly at If you would like to learn more about the program now, begin by clicking the link on the right to complete the McNair Interest Form. The application process entails multiple steps listed below: 


Click The “UWW McNair Program” tab below, and if interested, complete the McNair Interest Form on the right. The McNair Director will review it and contact you to schedule a virtual information session


The McNair Director will provide a detailed overview regarding eligibility, expectations, program requirements, and the link for the application if you meet all of the eligibility requirements


You will need to take some time to complete and submit a full well-polished application packet. The application packet must include:

  • Online Application
  • Personal Statement
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a professor
  • Income Verification Information (most recent tax return)
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Academic Writing Sample


Application materials will be submitted electronically via the online submission portal that will be available after the information session meeting with the McNair Director.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program realizes the value of diversity among researchers and scholars in academia. It aims to prepare undergraduate students who have demonstrated strong academic potential for the rigor of doctoral studies. Through its participants engaging in research and other high impact educational practices, the McNair program intends to diversify the professoriate and other research-intensive careers. 

A central feature of the program is the mentoring provided by UW-Whitewater faculty, where each scholar receives guidance in working on an undergraduate research project, as well as regular contact with a professional role model during their first summer and academic year. Scholars participate in a research internship during their second summer at a university, regional or national research center. This program promotes:

  • Research and scholarly activities
  • Enrollment in graduate programs
  • Continued enrollment in graduate programs
  • Doctoral degree attainment


The Life of Ronald E. McNair

Dr Ronald McNair portraitRonald Erwin McNair was best known for his illustrious service to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Dr. 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. Dr. McNair then enrolled in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned a Ph.D. in Physics. Dr. 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 college students to enroll in graduate studies.

  • Strong desire to pursue graduate studies (especially a PhD)
  • First-generation college student AND from economically disadvantaged family (determined by federal income guidelines)
  • OR from a population underrepresented in graduate education (Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander)
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Minimum of 2.75 GPA (3.00 preferred)
  • Complete at least 60 credits by end of Spring 2022

  • Research experience with a faculty mentor
  • Learn to prepare competitive graduate school applications
  • Visits to prestigious graduate programs
  • Paid travel to research conferences
  • Academic and career advising
  • Professional and leadership development
  • GRE Preparation and vouchers
  • $2800 stipend earned during summer research institute


Follow the link to complete the online application. Please answer every question completely and accurately. Supplemental documents are also required to successfully complete the application. Be sure to include your name on all uploaded documents.

To be uploaded at the end of the online application in the Supplemental Items section:

  • Signed copy of parent’s 2020 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ Income Tax Return or yours if you are an INDEPENDENT student. BE SURE TO BLOCK OUT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS PRIOR TO UPLOADING
  • Spring 2021 Unofficial Transcript
  • Writing sample of a 2-5 page course paper that was completed within the last year

To be EMAILED to

  • 1 letter of recommendation (FROM A UW WHITEWATER PROFESSOR)


Once your application and supporting documents have been successfully submitted, you will meet with the McNair Director to review eligibility and application materials


If your application is approved by the McNair Director, you will advance to the next phase by completing a formal interview with the McNair Advisory Committee.


If you are selected by the McNair Advisory Committee, you will be offered a position in the incoming 2021-2023 McNair Scholars Cohort. Thereafter, you will sign the McNair Scholars Program Participation Contract, attend an orientation, and enroll in the 1 credit online McNair Spring Seminar.



  • Completed online Application
  • Writing Sample (Maximum 5 pages)
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • 1 Letters of Recommendation (From a UWW Professor)
  • Copy of 2020 federal tax return (usually 1-2 pages long) that shows adjusted gross income, taxable income, and signature

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