By Brennan Sullivan
Roosevelt has recently been awarded with an exclusive 5-year grant of $1.16 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will give twenty-five selected applicants the opportunity to be a part of the McNair Scholars Program, which prepares them to apply and complete a doctorate program. Candidates must be either be a low-income, first-generation college student or part of an underrepresented racial group in doctoral study.
The program was created to honor Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, one of the seven astronauts who died in the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. McNair endured staggering poverty growing up and was the second African-American to fly in space. Congress has been funding the program for nearly three decades in honor of McNair’s distinguished accomplishments, with hope to inspire the “…high-standards of achievement exemplified by McNair…” as stated on the McNair Scholars Program page on the university website.
The director of Roosevelt’s honors program, Marjorie Jolles, urged all students, whether they are an honors student or not, to apply for the McNair award. Jolles is also a member of the McNair Scholars advisory board comprised of faculty members that help oversee the implementation of the program at Roosevelt. She said that the program “…is a genuinely transformational opportunity for students to gain access to resources and experiences that are otherwise hard to access.”
Senior Trevor Svetic, who qualifies for the program by being a first-generation college student, said that he has contemplated applying after learning about the programs valuable services such as GRE preparation seminars, faculty mentorship, and assistance to obtain a paid summer research internship.
“I think it is a great opportunity for Roosevelt students,” said Svetic. “Especially if they are not coming from a wealthy family or whose parents didn’t attend college, it gives them a chance to get ahead that they might not have had.”
He hoped that Roosevelt will do more to inform students on the advantageous program and how to apply as he feels that it is something that should be well-known throughout the student body.
Political science professor Andy Trees, who received his Ph.D in American History from the University of Virginia, suggested to Roosevelt students who are contemplating applying to the program to do so. “If you are passionate about a certain area, I think grad school is a wonderful opportunity to explore a subject in greater depth,” Trees said.
For those students who are admitted, he suggested to use the resources of the program to find a subject area to study they’re most passionate about. He also said that “…if you have an advisor that you enjoy working with, that can make a huge difference.”
Applications for the McNair Scholars Program are to be hand delivered to Wabash room 1311 and are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17th.