Southeast Awarded $1.1 Million Grant for Federal TRIO/McNair Scholars

by News Bureau on Friday, Sep. 14, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 14, 2012 — Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a five-year $1.1 million federal grant to continue the current successful Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program that began at Southeast in October 2003.

The McNair Scholars Program, one of the seven federal TRIO programs, prepares first generation, limited income and underrepresented students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

This was the most competitive grant application process in the program’s history. At the beginning of the competition, 187 programs existed. In June 2012, 334 proposals were submitted for review, and only 134 were funded. Southeast begins its third McNair grant cycle Oct. 1 and will continue to serve students in the program until 2017. Across the state, there were five programs, and now four remain. Southeast will work closely with the other McNair programs located at Truman State University, the University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri-Columbia.

“There have been significant changes in the entire process of securing federal funds for these programs since we were originally funded in 2003. The focus on accountability, assessment and student outcomes has raised the bar for proposal writing and successful program implementation,” said Trent Ball, associate dean of students at Southeast. “McNair was among three competitions held by the Department of Education for the TRIO Programs during the summer of 2012, and quite a few long-standing programs across the country were not refunded, nor were any new programs funded. Our success is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our current director, Ms. Monica Barnes, Ms. Breanna Walling, assistant director of Intensive English Programs, the McNair Scholars and Academic Support Centers staff and the outstanding support we received from the Office of Research and Grant Development, the Institutional Research team, Dean (Chris) McGowan and the faculty of the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture in developing the proposal for submission.”

The new proposal builds upon the success of the original grant and also expands the scope to include a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. McNair Scholars will have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research, faculty mentoring, seminars and other scholarly activities designed to help scholars acquire the skills to be successful in doctoral level programs.

Scholarly activities will include conducting summer research projects, presenting research at research or professional conferences; one-on-one mentorship from faculty members and exposure to the graduate school application process; assistance with preparation for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), assistance in searching for funding for graduate school, acquiring financial literacy education and academic support.

The staff of the Academic Support Centers would like to thank the division of Enrollment Management and Student Success, current and former scholars, current and former faculty mentors and the campus community for the assistance and support that was provided and the commitments given for the future success of the students we serve in the McNair Scholars Program, Ball said.