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.

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.


The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program (the McNair Scholars Program) was 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 on 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 then went on to receive his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1978, Dr. McNair was selected as one of thirty-five applicants from a pool of over ten-thousand for the NASA astronaut program.

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.


Funded to serve: 25 Undergraduate scholars per program year.

To qualify for the McNair Scholars program services, all applicants must be:

  • A US citizen
  • Admitted to and enrolled at Henderson State University in a four-year program
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA at the time of the application and an interest in pursuing graduate studies
  • Have at least 45 college credits completed

And meet #1 or #2 of the following Federal requirements:

  1. Low-income according to the federal guidelines (verification federally required) AND a first-generation college student (parent(s)/guardian(s) do not have a four-year college degree by the time you are 18)
  2. A member of a historically underrepresented group in higher education (federally defined as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander)

Opportunities and Benefits

McNair Program components:

  • Workshops and seminars provide information on graduate school topics such as: selecting a graduate school, the admissions and financial aid process, library research skills, technical writing, polishing computer skills, strengthening academic skills, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation and more.
  • Faculty research mentors will assist scholars with developing individual research interests and research skills that allow scholars to complete an original research project and present their findings at research conferences.
  • Individualized assistance aids scholars with undergraduate academic needs (planning, counseling, tutoring, GRE preparation, and the application process) and assists in identifying graduate schools. McNair staff also assists scholars with the admission process to the graduate programs of choice.
  • Research Stipends are awarded to scholars who complete McNair program requirements.

Individualized services offered:

  • Academic advising
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) preparation
  • Research assistance
  • Funding to travel to local, state, and national research conferences
  • Pre-graduate school advising and career counseling
  • Presentation preparation assistance
  • Technological training
  • Cultural trips/events
  • Graduate school visits
  • Class schedule planning
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring referrals
  • Assistance with choosing a faculty research mentor
  • Publication opportunities
  • Laptop computer usage
  • Research stipend (up to $2800)

Check out our Facebook page to see what we have been up to lately!

 McNair Scholars at HSU Facebook

Being a Mentor:

Faculty mentors are asked to contribute their time, knowledge, and support to the McNair Scholars. The mentoring experience is a close, individualized relationship that develops between a student and faculty member that includes nurturing, guidance, personal development, and academic enrichment. A faculty mentor should assist the McNair scholar in preparation of graduate school by offering encouragement, feedback, information, and support.

During their first summer, students complete a Summer Research Internship (SRI), of about 30 hours each week (including workshop attendance and preparation for graduate school application). The SRI is scheduled from mid-May through early August and results in a research paper of approximately 25 pages. We ask that faculty mentors meet with the McNair scholar weekly throughout the SRI. Faculty mentors should guide the McNair scholar in the requirements of research in his or her field and assist him or her in learning how to write a research paper.

Additionally, faculty mentors are asked to assist students in preparation of presenting their research.
If you are interested in being a mentor please contact the McNair Scholars Program.


Phase I of the McNair Scholars Program application process can be completed entirely ONLINE.
   Submissions will be reviewed and those chosen to move forward will be notified by the McNair Program.
Phase II requires 3 Letters of Recommendation and an Income Verification form.
   Students chosen will receive further instruction.

For Current Scholars and Mentors:

Mentor Monthly

Mentor Weekly (SRI)

Scholar Monthly

Scholar Weekly (SRI)

Workshop Schedule


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