Preparing for graduate school’s rigors and research can present a daunting task. The selection and application process alone is tough, and many students don’t even consider graduate school an option. In the United States, certain groups such as Latinos and African Americans have been underrepresented among faculty in colleges and universities.
Into the gap steps the McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. Through seminars, workshops, and a paid research program guided by faculty mentors, WSU undergraduates work together as a cohort toward graduate school and doctoral programs.
I attended a few of the presentations at the research symposium for McNair scholars this week, to see what they’re working on. In an airy room at the top of the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, I watched undergrads Mapuana Antonio, Alyssa Tanhueco, and Jacqueline Nuha present their research to fellow students and faculty.
What struck me, as much as the content, was the passion and deep personal connection to the research. Their common goal—graduate school and PhD programs—seemed more than a means to achieving employment. The students involved in the program care about what they study.