Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a five-year $1.16 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, said Trent Ball, assistant vice president for Academic Diversity and Outreach. At the beginning of the competition, 187 programs were in existence. In April 2017, 337 proposals were submitted for review, and only 161 were funded. Southeast began its fourth McNair grant cycle Oct. 1, 2017, and will continue to serve students in the program until 2022. Across the state, five programs were funded; Southeast will work closely with the other McNair programs located at Saint Louis University, 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,” Ball said. “Our success is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our current director, Ms. Monica Barnes, Mr. Valdis Zalite, director of Academic and TRIO/Student Support Services, 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 and Council of Deans 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, Ball said.
Scholarly activities will include conducting summer research projects, presenting research at research or professional conferences; one-on-one mentorship from faculty members, 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 Dr. Debbie Below and 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.
**Photo Caption: Southeast students and staff at the 26th Annual National McNair Reserach & Grant Recruitment Fair.