McNair Scholars Program grant renewed at UW-River Falls

September 25, 2017--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has received a renewal of grant funding for its McNair Scholars Program. The U.S. Department of Education granted UWRF over $1.1 million, which will fund the program for five years.

“We are delighted to learn of the renewal of the McNair Scholars Program,” said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen. “This important program has a profound impact on the success of our students, and clearly supports our university goals of engaging students in research and encouraging post baccalaureate study.”

UW-River Falls has hosted the McNair Scholars Program since 1999. The program renewal process is competitive, however, with universities and institutions of higher education across the United States reapplying for funding every five years.

The McNair Scholars Program is integral in helping prepare eligible students for doctoral studies. Participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have already demonstrated high academic achievement. Many students are first generation college students.

The program is named in memory of Ronald E. McNair, an African-American astronaut who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986. McNair received his Ph.D. in physics from MIT and was chosen by NASA out of a pool of 10,000 applicants for his first space mission. He was also known for his work in laser physics.

Many previous McNair Scholars students from UW-River Falls have entered masters and doctoral programs across the United States. Research is at the heart of most McNair Scholar student projects.

“The McNair Scholar Program allowed me to have access to valuable resources that will support me,” said UW-River Falls student Noah Rogers. “It has provided resources for me to travel to California to present, access to GRE prep and working with professors on campus.”

“This program can be life changing for some of these students,” said Diane Bennett, interim director of the UWRF McNair Scholars Program.

For more information on the UWRF McNair Scholars Program, including application information, visit

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