Increasing access to graduate school

McNair Scholars program opens the door through research and mentoring

2014 McNair cohort poses with Anthony Albecker

The 2014 McNair Scholars cohort posed for a photo with program director Anthony Albecker.

The McNair Scholars program at the University of Minnesota serves students in any major. A few come from other institutions. All are mentored by U of M faculty.

The 2014 U of M cohort included 17 students from 5 Twin Cities campus colleges plus UMD and two private colleges. Faculty mentors came from 10 Twin Cities campus colleges.

Jaleesa Wright, for example, majoring in family social science, studied the impact of adults’ incarceration on the children in their lives. Her faculty mentor was Rebecca Shlafer, assistant professor of pediatrics and an alumna of the Institute of Child Development.

Mulki Naleye is pursuing a double major in human resources development and in business and marketing education. She carried out a small-scale research project over the summer, interviewing Somali immigrant mothers about their families’ school choices for their children. Her mentor was school-choice expert and Regents Professor Karen Seashore in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development.

Power for Minnesota

McNair Scholars at the U since 1992

+ 47 are currently undergraduates
+ 189 have been admitted to graduate programs
+ 107 have received master’s degrees
+ 28 have received professional degrees
+ 19 have received doctoral degrees
+ 53 are enrolled in graduate programs
+ 23 are enrolled in doctoral programs

The McNair Scholars program is one of eight TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO grew out of the Higher Education Act of 1965, dedicated to improving first-generation and underrepresented students’ access to higher education.

McNair was created to extend that access into graduate school. It was named after astronaut Ronald McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion.

The U of M McNair program, housed in CEHD, is one of five in Minnesota and the only one in the University system.

“As we look at trying to bolster and diversify those going on to get advanced degrees, this serves as an important pipeline for students,” says U McNair program director Anthony Albecker, who himself was a low-income, first-generation student.

Read more about 2014 McNair Scholar JaLeesa Wright McNair and mentor Rebecca Shlafer in “Taking flight through her research.”

Read more about Mulki Naleye and mentor Karen Seashore in “McNair—the long view.”

Learn about the McNair Scholars program and all the students in the 2014 cohort—including their posters.

U of M TRIO programs will sponsor a conference, “Honoring Our Past, Owning Our Future,” on February 7, 2015.

Photo by Patrick O’Leary | Winter 2015