Education and Human Development

TRIO McNair scholars program


McNair Scholars develop higher-level academic and research skills necessary to gain admission to and complete graduate study through a comprehensive summer experience and academic year programming. The federally funded TRIO McNair Scholars program seeks to increase doctoral program application, matriculation, and degree attainment by underrepresented and first-generation college students. Read more about our history, outcomes, and future.

Apply to be a McNair Scholar

Applications for the 2024 cohort are now closed. Applications for the 2025 cohort will open in Fall 2024. Fill out the McNair Interest Form to receive updates on when the application goes live.

Learn more about what the McNair program is and why you should apply.

year 2022 McNair scholars

2022 McNair scholars. 

year 2022 McNair scholars

From our scholars

Quote from Bai Vue, 2010 McNair Scholar

The McNair Scholars program was instrumental in my graduate program completion. Through this program, I have developed research experiences, lasting relationships with faculty and graduate students, and a strong self-advocacy. I am a role model for my community and now support others to pursue dignified careers.

Bai Vue, 2010 McNair Scholar B.S. Human Resource Development, U of M M.Ed. Human Resource Development, U of M

View additional McNair scholar testimonials [PDF] of how the program helped them reach their career goals.

About our program

  • 10-week summer research apprenticeships with a University faculty mentor whose research interests match those of the McNair student.
  • Summer stipend of $6,000. Additional $500 during the academic year.
  • 3-course credits offered (EDHD 3302: McNair: Demystifying & Engaging the Research Process)
  • Weekly seminars on study strategies for graduate school and graduate entrance exam preparation.
  • Opportunities to present research at multiple symposiums and a national conference
  • Build community with a cohort of McNair scholars
  • Year-round seminars and advising services focus on:
    • Careers requiring graduate education
    • Successful selection and application to graduate school
    • Financing graduate studies
    • Preparing a successful undergraduate research project proposal
    • Introduction to discipline-specific research and research writing skills, and ethical issues in research

Population served

  • Two-thirds of students must be first-generation and income-eligible. One-third of the students may be from groups that are underrepresented in graduate school.
  • U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents
  • The U of M McNair program is open to all Twin Cities students in all colleges and majors, U of M coordinate campuses (Crookston, Duluth, Rochester), and Minnesota colleges and universities that do not have their own McNair program.

McNair Scholars graduate profile since 1992*

*Scholars may be counted more than once, i.e. some earned masters and went on to earn doctorate.

  • 47 students are still undergraduates.
  • 198 students entered graduate school.
  • 120 students earned M.A. degrees.
  • 28 students earned professional degrees.
  • 22 students earned doctorate degrees.
  • 27 are currently enrolled in doctorate programs.
  • 88 students are still enrolled in graduate school.
  • 14 scholars are participating in post baccalaureate fellowships and/or other fellowship like activities and are expected to matriculate to graduate school.

McNair Scholars is a TRIO program funded by the United States Department of Education with support from the University of Minnesota.

David Ghere Memorial Scholarship

David Ghere was passionate about helping students from all different backgrounds learn and supporting their ambitions into professional life. For two decades, he taught history at the University of Minnesota General College and later the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning where he was a champion of and mentor to underserved students. He was a natural teacher and loved his work. One of his greatest joys was teaching using simulations that he created to help students understand and challenge historical concepts.

Dave was a strong supporter of the TRIO program. He was drawn to TRIO's mission at the University of Minnesota. Soon after joining the university, he reached out to the TRIO Program to find ways to collaborate and supported the program throughout his career. He was also a mentor to McNair Scholars and worked with students on their research projects. Having been a first-generation college student, he took great joy in partnering with these programs and assisting others through their journey.

When Dave passed away in 2010, his colleague Jeanne Higbee started a fund in his memory. Today, thanks to additional gifts from his family and friends, the David Ghere Memorial Scholarship supports students in the TRIO McNair Scholars program. The scholarship aligns with who Dave was throughout his life and is a continuation of his work to support U of M's promising McNair Scholars to be successful in college and beyond.

image of David Ghere

Resources for current McNair scholars

    Self-awareness tools

    • StrengthsQuest Assessment
    • SCARF Assessment: SCARF stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. The results of your assessment show you the order in which the SCARF elements matter to you. Understanding which of these five domains are key drivers for you helps you understand why you react so strongly in certain situations and why others don't seem to bother you so much. It will also help to explain the reaction of those around you!

    Professional online profile

    Tips for LinkedIn [PDF]

    Words of wisdom

    Skill awareness and development

    Research programs

    1. Research schools and programs you are interested in and visit and/or
    2. Check schools and programs websites for information on how they support students from diverse backgrounds.
    3. Determine what application materials are needed and look at program handbooks if available.
    4. Go to graduate school fairs (but never pay to go to a fair).
    5. If possible, visit the school. Sometimes, schools will pay for your visit, especially through diversity/outreach efforts.
    6. Find out about specific courses offered.
    7. Learn about specific research interests of individual faculty members.
    8. Find out how long it takes to complete the program, and the program's attrition rate (how many students left the program and why).
    9. Prepare for interviews (if applicable).
    10. Prepare your resume or curriculum vitae [PDF] and personal statement.

    Talk to people

    1. Discuss your options with professors, advisors, current graduate students, or alumni of graduate programs to see how they found a good fit and what they wish they would have known about searching for graduate programs.
    2. Ask them to recommend programs that may fit your needs (location, funding, faculty research).
    3. Make contact with current students to find out what their experience has been like.

    Research financial aid and funding

    1. Learn about financial aid resources available from the school and program, specifically if teaching or research assistantships are available to incoming students, as well as fellowships (scholarships) or grants.
    2. Fill out the FAFSA to see what you qualify for in loans.
    3. What will you accomplish in the future with this degree?

    U of M resources

    1. If you are applying to a U of M graduate program, fill out the McNair graduate application fee waiver on the U of M McNair resources website.
    2. Apply for a graduate assistantship.
    3. McNair Scholars/DOVE Fellowship
    4. Additional financial resources

    As you gather information on programs, create a list of potential schools to organize and rank schools based on your potential for being accepted (Safety, Good chance, Reach). Don't discard schools simply because you feel your changes of acceptance are slim.

    McNair alumni

    McNair scholars from the U of M are contributing to research that is finding cures to diseases and generating innovation in a wide range of industries including biotechnology, healthcare, and agriculture. McNair scholars are also in faculty positions, helping develop the next generation of experts and innovators who will allow the United States to continue to lead and quickly adapt to emerging challenges.

    Stay connected to McNair by providing us with your current contact information.

      Get in touch

      TRIO McNair Scholars staff
      40 Education Sciences Building
      56 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455
      Phone: 612-625-0772
      Fax: 612-625-0704

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      Kayla Cory Kayla Cory

      Kayla Cory is an advisor for and an alum of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program. She has a master's degree in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development and a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota.

      Kayla Cory
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      Amani Stumme-Berry Amani Stumme-Berry

      Hello! My name is Amani Stumme-Berry. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota with an undergraduate degree in psychology (BA) and a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and public policy (MPP).

      Amani Stumme-Berry
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