Winthrop University: McNair Scholars Program Renewed and Has Outstanding Showing This Summer
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McNair Scholars Program Renewed and Has Outstanding Showing This Summer

August 29, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • This is the fourth time the U.S. Department of Education TRiO program has funded the Winthrop McNair program. 
  • The university will receive $261,888 annually from 2023 through 2028, which will cover 75 percent of the program’s cost. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Coming on the heels of a very successful research showing this summer, Winthrop University’s Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program was renewed for another five years.

This is the fourth time the U.S. Department of Education TRiO program has funded the Winthrop McNair program. The university will receive $261,888 annually from 2023 through 2028, which will cover 75 percent of the program’s cost. Winthrop contributes the remaining 25 percent, or $87,903 in cash and in-kind matches, according to Psychology Professor Cheryl Fortner, who directs the program.

The McNair Scholars program is named for South Carolina native Ronald E. McNair who perished three decades ago in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The Winthrop McNair Scholars program, which began in 2009 and is one of two programs in the Palmetto State, accepts 30 first-generation, low-income college students and underrepresented undergraduates each year.

One of the key program components is an intense summer research internship for all new and some continuing McNair participants. The summer scholars work with a Ph.D. faculty mentor who helps the student complete a high quality research product. Those products are showcased on campus at a research symposium and then entered into competition with McNair Scholars from programs around the U.S.

This summer, 17 Winthrop scholars presented their work at the national McNair/Student Support Services conference hosted by the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP). They competed in six of the eight presentation categories and placed top three in all six categories. Of the six top three presentations, five earned first place and a $500 prize. 

“Every Winthrop cohort is outstanding and every member of the 2022 cohort did an exceptional job,” Fortner said. “This is our strongest showing at SAEOPP and I do not know how we can top this summer. I am incredibly proud of each of our students.”

As the McNair Scholars wrap up their undergraduate degree, the program offers financial support to help increase their competitiveness for, apply to, and succeed in master's and doctoral programs. This includes, but is not limited to, a paid summer research experience; faculty mentoring; quantitative and verbal reasoning preparation; writing, and stats and methods coaching; graduate admissions and funding application guidance; and travel to present research and explore graduate programs.

Winthrop’s McNair Scholars program has served 186 students since its inception. Fortner cites several success stories about the students who completed graduate school.  For example, several newly minted Ph.D. alumni have secured highly competitive research positions: Aaron Fountain (Cleveland Restoration Society), Olivia Manley (Northwestern), Emily Hokett (Columbia), Lauren Green (Duke), Savannah Moritzky (HDT Bio) and Jordan Lewis (Yale).

For more information on the McNair Scholars program, please contact Fortner at 803/323-2125 or e-mail fortnerc@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 8/29/22