Scholarship program accepting applications

For more than a decade, Southern Miss students have had the opportunity to become prestigious scholars because of the nationally-recognized Ronald E. McNair post-baccalaureate Scholars Program.

The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase the number of first-generation, low-income students in Ph.D programs.

Along with receiving a $2,800 stipend, McNair Scholars are able to gain experience in their chosen field of research.  Scholars receive Graduate Record Examination tutoring as well as their fee paid for the GRE test.

Former Southern Miss student and McNair Scholar Tyler Cargill is a graduate student at the University of Exeter in England. He said McNair Scholars are set apart from other grad school applicants.

“Being a McNair Scholar looks great on an application,” Cargill said. “If you are new to research or only a honors college person, McNair is great for research experience, because it allows one to think analytically and get the skills you need to write.”

Texas Tech University graduate and former McNair Scholar Marauo Davis always wanted to go to grad school, but had many concerns.

“I saw a McNair flier that said, ‘The goal of McNair is to train you for grad school,’” Davis said. “I knew that I had to become a McNair Scholar.”

Davis said that as a McNair Scholar, he gained the discipline needed to excel as a grad student.

“McNair definitely made a difference,” Davis said.  “From undergrad to grad school is a big difference…you only learn so much as an undergrad.”

Davis and Cargill also improved their GRE scores.

“It was a grueling process,” Davis said.  “Before McNair, I did not know what the GRE was nor did I think I would read and write as much as I did.”

“On average, McNair Scholars improve their GRE score by two hundred points,” said Kim Brown, assistant director of the McNair Scholars Program.

It has been a few years since Cargill and Davis were Southern Miss McNair Scholars, but the prestige of winning the McNair stipend is still with them.

“I still use my McNair thesis for presentations,” Cargill said.

Davis added that grad school administrators want to be convinced that applicants are capable of completing grad school.

“Being able to admit that you completed something as rigorous as McNair is a plus,” Davis said.

Applicants must be eligible for financial aid, a first-generation college graduate, have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and 60 credit hours.  The application deadline is Sept. 30, 2013.

The McNair Scholars Program is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Ronald E. McNair. McNair, an engineer, scientist and astronaut, was killed when the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded  on Jan. 28, 1986.

For more information about the McNair Scholars Program contact Kim Brown or Susan Bourland at 601.266.6910.

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