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McNair Scholars Program

Are you the first in your family to attend college or from an ethnic or income group underrepresented in higher education? If so, learn more about our McNair Scholars Program.

Gabe Moreno '14

Gabe Moreno '14

Studio art major, economics minor

Gabe's McNair project focused on a series of sculptures rooted in the ideas of compromise and negotiation -- two ideas he became very familiar with during his 1,000-mile bike ride from Illinois to New York.

Each year, the McNair Program selects 10 sophomores who work with faculty mentors through their senior year to develop academic and research projects. As a McNair scholar, the program prepares you for graduate and doctoral studies and encourages you to explore research-intensive careers, including academia and working at the highest levels of science and technology.

Since Knox joined the program in 1992, 42% of participating students have earned top degrees in their fields, including the MFA and Ph.D. The success rate of our students in earning these degrees, which are typically required for academic and research-based careers, is more than twice the minimum completion rate of 20% that is expected by the federal government. Knox is one of just 130 colleges and universities in the McNair Program and one of the first small liberal arts colleges in the nation selected for the initiative.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is a part of the TRIO Program. Contact our McNair staff to learn more about the program and eligibility requirements.

McNair can benefit you by:

  • Providing funding for substantive summer research with a faculty mentor following your sophomore and junior years
  • Publishing selected student research in The McNair Journal of Multidisciplinary Research
  • Creating opportunities to present your research to fellow academics and other McNair scholars at a national conference
  • Finding teaching and research assistantships to allow you to explore academic careers
  • Facilitating graduate fellowships at select universities nationwide
  • Offering GRE fee waivers and graduate school application fee waivers (for selected schools)
  • Providing McNair tutorials with enriched academic preparation, research skill development, intensive career education, and graduate school process familiarization

McNair presentationResearch topics presented by Knox students at the UC Berkeley McNair Symposium 2013 include:

  • "Trauma and Tragedy: Remaking Identity Through Personal Narrative" -Natalie Baldino '15
  • " 'Remember, We Are Dealing with the Human Form': Fugue and Fluidity in the Works of David Lynch" -Nicole Baldino '15 
  • "Success in the Community: Determining the Success of the Intentional Communities of Galesburg Colony, Bishop Hill, and Jonestown" -Nicolette Bridgeforth '15
  • "Performance Art Meets the Art Institution" -Sophia Gimenez '15
  • "Memory and Learning in Scopolamine-Induced Rats with Oral Adminstration Turmeric and Bacopa Monnieri Mixture" -Bryan Leslie '14
  • "Gender and Formality in ASL and JSL" -Jade Ivy '15
  • "A Case Study in Screenwriting and the Half-Hour Television Sitcom" -Jakeb Maryott '15
  • "Palestinian Perspectives on the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict" -Elian Mercado '14
  • "Diversity of Farming Symbiosis Within the Soil Amoeba Dictyostelium" -Christian Navarette '15
  • "Storytelling, Cultural Memory, and (Re)presentation of the Jezebel in Gayl Jones's Corregidora"- Gabrielle Rajerison '14
  • "Identity of Heritage Spanish Speakers: The Influence of Age and Language" -Lyana Sun Han Chang '14
  • "Identity Security in Biracial Versus Monoracial College Students" -Sa'Misty Utley '15

Our 200+ McNair alumni continue to thrive in their lives after Knox. A few of our outcomes include:

  • Monica Prince '12 is pursuing an MFA in poetry with a full tuition waiver and graduate assistantship at Georgia College and State University
  • Lauren Smith '12 was awarded a graduate fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Notre Dame
  • Jessica DeMory '11 was voted vice president for the graduate program's Public Administration Student Association at Northern Illinois University
  • McKinley Murphy '10 is pursuing an M.A. in English at Truman State University
  • Mike Prentice '08 completed a research assistantship on a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Missouri
  • Heather Elomaa '07 passed her Ph.D. comprehensive and language exams and is starting her dissertation on Latin poetry
  • Neil Gonzales '06 worked six years in alternative education for middle and high school students, completing a master's degree in school leadership and the Type 75 administration certificate
  • Robert Castillo '05 obtained his JD from DePaul University
  • Pamela Hernandez '02 is a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland and recently published work on a book chapter


McNair News

In 2012, our McNair Program received continued funding: a 5-year federal grant of more than $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The new grant has allowed us to expand our services to include more access to STEM preparation, tutoring, technology (iPads for everyone!), and financial literacy education.

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