Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program)


One of eight federally funded TRIO Programs, the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program seeks to provide effective preparation for doctoral study to low-income, first-generation college scholars and scholars from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education.


The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program (the McNair Scholars Program) has been established in honor of the second African American in space, the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who died in the Challenger explosion in 1986.  As one of the last of the U.S. Senate’s TRIO programs, the McNair Scholars Program maintains the spirit of its namesake by encouraging highly talented scholars to pursue advanced degrees.

Dr. McNair was born October 21, 1950, in South Carolina.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in physics at >North Carolina A&T State University, graduating magna cum laude in 1971. He received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was selected for the NASA astronaut corps in 1978. 

His spirit of excellence extended beyond academics.  He received a fifth degree black belt in karate and was a passionate jazz saxophonist. The Henderson State University McNair Scholars Program champions scholarly excellence in academics and leadership by financially and academically supporting talented scholars who desire to achieve distinction in research and scholarship at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Information and Eligibility

Funding Period:  October, 2012 – September, 2017 /$1,100,000 grant cycle-$220,000 per program year (Reduction to $208,494 for 2013-2014).

Funded to serve: 25 Undergraduate scholars per program year.

Eligibility for grant program: (a) U.S. Citizen; (b)  undergraduate students who are low income AND first generation, OR from groups underrepresented in higher education; (c) 3.0 GPA and interested in pursuing graduate studies; (d) completion of 60 college credit hours.

Program Goal:  The goal of Henderson State University’s McNair Scholars Program is to prepare program participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

Opportunities and Benefits

  • Participate in a Summer Research Internship and Academic Year Research.  Scholars participate in a 6 week summer program and a 2-semester academic year program where they continue individual research projects, attend a graduate school and teaching seminar, and may participate in a graduate school visitation program.

    • Engage in Research. Participants conduct research under the guidance of a Faculty Mentor. Quality research projects provide a realistic picture of graduate school scholarship, while also preparing scholars for the graduate school culture.
    • Mentoring. Each scholar will choose a faculty mentor who provides individual guidance and mentoring regarding the graduate school application process and the completion of undergraduate research projects. Mentors serve as role models and are an essential resource for the Scholar.
    • Graduate School Preparation.  Scholars are assisted with financial aid and graduate school advising, as well as the graduate school application process and fee waivers.
    • McNair Stipend. Scholars will receive up to $2800 in stipend funds.
    • Social and Cultural Environment.  Scholars engage in trips, group dinners, and attend a variety of cultural events throughout the United States. Check out our Facebook page to see what we’ve been up to lately! McNair Scholars at HSU Facebook


Phase I of The McNair Scholars Program application process can be completely totally ONLINE (by clicking the link). Submissions will be reviewed and those chosen to move forward will be notified by the McNair Staff.

Phase II requires 3 Letters of Recommendation and Income Verification. Students chosen will receive further instruction.


The McNair Scholars Program office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

McNair Scholars Program at Henderson State University 
Edwards House
1039 Henderson Street, HSU Box 7711 
Arkadelphia, AR 71999-0001
Phone: 870-230-5333
Fax: 870-230-5281