Student Diversity, Engagement and Success

Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program

Applications for the UW Whitewater Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program is NOW open with a deadline of January 15, 2023. In order to start the application process, fill out an interest form. Upon completion of the interest form, we will contact you with further information about the application process and with a link to the online application. 

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 2023

  • 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


STEP 1: Fill out the interest form

STEP 2 (optional but HIGHLY recommended): All informational sessions have passed

STEP 3: If eligible for the program, we will send an email with additional information about the application process and a link to the application. To view more information about the material needed for the application, view the application checklist below.

STEP 4: 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.

STEP 5: If you are selected by the McNair Advisory Committee, you will be offered a position in the incoming 2023-2025 McNair Scholars Cohort. Thereafter, you will sign the McNair Scholars Program Participation Contract, attend an orientation, and enroll in the online McNair Spring Seminar in preparation for the Summer Research Institute.


Note: 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.

  • Completed online Application

          Emailed to you upon completing the interest form and confirming that you are eligible for the program. 

  • Writing Sample 

          Writing sample of a 2-5 page course paper that was completed within the last year

  • Unofficial Transcript

          Find this on your WINS account. 

  • 1 Letter of Recommendation 

          From a UWW Professor and emailed from that professor to

  • Copy of 2021 federal tax return (usually 1-2 pages long) that shows adjusted gross income, taxable income, and signature

         Signed copy of parent’s 2020 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ Income Tax Return or yours if you are an INDEPENDENT


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