September 24, 2012

OMA&D Receives New $1.15 Million Grant to Fund McNair Program

By Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) received a new five-year $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of TRiO Programs to fund its Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

Administered at UW since 1999, the McNair Program prepares undergraduate students from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds for graduate education and the attainment of doctoral degrees.

“Since its initial funding 13 years ago, the McNair Program has made a substantial impact on the UW and the students it serves,” said Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, UW Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity. “We are delighted to continue preparing our diverse students for the rigors of graduate education.”

The grant will support 27 participants annually beginning in the fall of 2012 through the summer of 2017. Students receive advising and mentoring, and participate in an array of workshops, seminars, and internships to develop skills and confidence to pursue graduate work.  Students also develop research projects in collaboration with faculty members and present their work through oral or poster presentations at national or UW sponsored research conferences.

The broad objective of the program is to increase graduate degree attainment of students from segments of society that are underrepresented in graduate education, with the long-term goal to help diversify the professoriate.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this grant given the highly competitive nature of the process, where one in three existing grants did not receive funding,” said Dr. Gabriel Gallardo, principal investigator and OMA&D Associate Vice President of Student Services and Academic Support Programs.

“The McNair Program fills an important niche at a time in our country where the need for more highly trained and educated citizens is critically important to our long term economic future,” he added. “The inclusion of diverse students in graduate education will strengthen our nation’s scientific and academic workforce, an investment that will pay long-term dividends for our democracy.”

Highlights of the UW McNair Program’s success include the following:

  • The UW McNair Program has graduated 141 students and placed 66 students in graduate programs across the nation.
  • 18 UW McNair scholars have completed doctoral degrees, 43 have received master’s degrees and five others have completed professional degrees.
  • 119 student research projects have been published in the UW McNair Scholars Journal since 2001.
  • UW McNair scholars have successfully competed for national, institutional and McNair program fellowships allowing them to start their graduate education without financial obstacles.
  • UW McNair scholars have advanced to attend the following Universities: Arizona, UC Berkley, Clark, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon State, Penn, UC San Diego, Texas (Austin), UCLA, Washington State and UW.
  • Several UW McNair scholars now hold tenure track faculty positions in Universities across the country.

Gallardo noted his appreciation for the UW faculty and administrators who wrote letters in support of the new grant, and the staff involved in the proposal submission.

“This demonstrates strong institutional support for the program and the students it serves,” he said. “We are fortunate to have supporters who believe in the mission of the program, who value the training of undergraduates in the research enterprise, and who are committed to a more inclusive academy.”

For more information, visit the UW’s Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program web site.

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