McNair Program Grant Awarded

$1.25-million to continue highly successful McNair TRIO Program

December 13, 2012

McNair Students at Knox College

Knox College has been awarded a federal grant of more than $1.25-million to continue its highly successful McNair TRIO Program that helps students prepare for academic and research-oriented careers.

The five-year grant of $252,045 annually was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, through the Ronald E. McNair Program. The program supports students who are the first in their families to attend college or are from ethnic and income groups that are underrepresented in higher education and other careers that require advanced degrees.

Since Knox joined the McNair Program in 1992, 42% of participating students have earned terminal degrees in their fields, including the master of fine arts (MFA) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D). The success rate of Knox's McNair 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.

"The guidance and support that McNair students receive from Knox College faculty is a key element in the success of the program and its students," said Sarah Moschenross, director of the McNair Program at Knox. In addition to academic and research skill development and career guidance throughout the academic year, McNair students receive funding for in-depth summer research with a faculty mentor.

The McNair program at Knox admits ten students annually and serves 30 students a year. Knox is one of just 130 colleges and universities in the McNair Program, and was one of the first small liberal arts colleges in the nation selected for the initiative.

"Students who qualify for the McNair Program often have never considered research-intensive careers that include college teaching and working at the highest levels in science and technology," Moschenross said. "The McNair Program encourages them to investigate those opportunities, and helps them prepare for careers that require analytical and research skills, as well as an extensive academic background."

The McNair Program is named in memory of astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle accident, was the second African-American to fly in space.