Skip to content
  • CSUMB Home
  • UROC

McNair Scholars Program


Graduation tribute to Marisa Thompson
Graduation tribute to Ana Gonzalez
Graduation tribute to Sonia Olmos
Graduation tribute to Erin Mansel
Graduation tribute to Selena Velasquez
Graduation tribute to Rene Nunez

Other graduating McNair Scholars not featured: Rene Nunez, Sonia Olmos

How do I apply?

Applicants to the McNair Scholars Program apply concurrently to the Scholars program in October of each year.

Check back next fall for the 2020 application.

McNair Students at Holiday Dinner Celebration

McNair Students at End of Year Holiday Dinner Celebration


  • Discipline-specific faculty mentoring
  • Comprehensive research seminar
  • $2800 summer research stipend
  • National recognition
  • Graduate school preparation and funding advisement
  • GRE fee reduction waivers and GRE preparation workshops including study materials
  • Travel support to present research at nationally recognized research conferences
  • Supportive network of McNair Scholars
  • Graduate programs/schools visits
  • Opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed journals
  • Participation in cultural events and social gatherings


  • Strong academic records (recommended minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA)
  • U.S. citizenship or U.S. permanent residency
  • Be either a first-generation & low-income college student or belong to a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education
Ronald E. McNair, African American Astronaut
The McNair Scholars Program is supported by the Department of Education and established in memory of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and NASA astronaut who served on the Challenger space shuttle.

Who was Ronald McNair?

Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair was an American NASA astronaut and physicist who died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986. Growing up in a low-income community in South Caroline, McNair overcame obstacle after obstacle ultimately being selected as one of 35 new astronauts from 8,000 applicants in 1978. He was also one of just three African Americans selected, which included Col. Guion Bluford, the first African American to travel in space. McNair would become the second African American to fly in space in 1984. McNair was also an accomplished saxophonist and even played while in space.

Following his death, members of Congress provided funding to create the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. It is intended to encourage students who come from low-income, first-generation college backgrounds, or are members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education to pursue doctoral level students through involvement in research and other scholarly activity.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center

(831) 582-4241