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Donovan Handy, McNair Scholar

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars) is part of the federally funded TRIO education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the only one primarily focused on students’ postbaccalaureate success. McNair Scholars seeks to increase the number of undergraduate students earning doctoral degrees who are low-income and first-generation. McNair Scholars, named in honor of astronaut, physicist, and saxophonist Dr. Ronald E. McNair, was established by an act of Congress in 1989. UT-Austin has maintained its program since 2007.

Program participants must be serious about and committed to enrolling in graduate programs with the end goal of completing a Ph.D. Students selected to participate in the McNair Scholars program work with both staff advisors (on graduate school literacy) and a faculty mentor (on research and scholarship). Scholars define, develop, and deliver original and independent research projects. Scholars also receive a free GRE prep course, travel awards, and participation scholarships.

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Topics Covered During the Program

  • The nuts and bolts of Graduate School
  • The faculty mentor relationship
  • Public speaking and presentations
  • How to find and refine your research question
  • GRE prep
  • Writing Statements of Purpose
  • Creating a CV
  • Choosing the “best fit” graduate programs for you
  • How to fund your graduate education
  • How to take care of yourself during graduate school