UW McNair Scholars tout trip to D.C.; program seeks new students

Posted by on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 15:48 - 0 Comments

Washington D.C. was an eye-opener for Pearl Wright.

She was one of several University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholars Program to travel to the nation’s Capital over the summer as part of a U.S. Department of Education-sponsored delegation celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “TRiO” programs and advocating for their future.

The programs, including McNair, give first-generation students and those from underrepresented groups the opportunity to pursue college, develop and lead high-impact research and achieve advanced degrees.

“I was able to meet with the two Senators from our state and discuss directly with them my concerns about where the future of education is going,” said Wright, who is pursuing degrees in religious studies and human services at UW Oshkosh. “An added benefit this year was meeting with the head of the Department of Education and making a case for a group that is not often considered in policy making–the non-traditional student.  I believe I have made a positive impression in that area.  Honestly, just four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do in my later years. Now, I am applying for doctorate programs and looking forward to being a contributing member of society late into my life.”

McNair is one of the federally-funded TRiO programs at UW Oshkosh. TRiO was created to “support and motivate students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.” UW Oshkosh’s Student Support Services (SSS) has served about 300 students each year with the McNair Scholars program propelling 25.  The number of students each program serves is set by the U.S. Department of Education.

McNair’s coordinators at UW Oshkosh are once again seeking new program participants who qualify for the program within the 14,000 student UW Oshkosh campus community. They are pointing to the Washington D.C. summer experience as just one example of the high-impact opportunities McNair students enjoy as part of their academic journeys.

Hear from McNair Scholar Jessica Hron about her experience, journey at UW Oshkosh at http://www.uwosh.edu/today/36240/mcnair-scholars-tout-trip-to-d-c-program-seeks-new-students/.

“The McNair program is for people who traditionally have not had equal opportunity to achieve doctoral level education,” Wright said. “I would recommend that anyone who is eligible for this program apply to the program. You do not know where you can end up in life and how high you can climb unless you take that first step. If someone in her mid-50s can be excited about going to grad school, and what it will allow me to contribute to the world in the years I have left, think of how much it will allow a traditional student to accomplish in their life time.”

Franki Mayer is another McNair Scholar who joined the UW Oshkosh delegation to Washington D.C. She is pursuing microbiology with chemistry and Spanish minors.

“After returning from the TRiO trip, I realized how important programs like this are,” Mayer said. “There were many high school students at the event who were involved in the ‘Upward Bound Program.’ It was really great to work with younger students who had a passion for learning, as well as to show them the possibilities that can be discovered by attending college.  For any future students interested in applying to the McNair program I would highly encourage it.”

“I have learned so much about graduate schools, research–reading and lab work–and also qualities I didn’t think I had,” Mayer said. “The biggest thing McNair has taught me is to have courage, and believe in myself. Through doing the research and presenting it, I have also learned to be proud of all the hard work that has gone into the McNair program. Anyone who takes advantage of it will gain so much more than an education and research training.”

Article originally publish on October 17, 2014, on http://www.uwosh.edu/today/36240/mcnair-scholars-tout-trip-to-d-c-program-seeks-new-students/. 

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