MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University recently received federal funding from the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program to support undergraduate students from first-generation or low-income families, as well as students from underrepresented groups, interested in pursuing graduate degrees with Ph.D. tracks.

The current iteration of the McNair program at Murray State, which accepts 29 students per academic year, has been in effect since 2009 and is now beginning its third grant cycle. The grant consists of more than $1 million distributed over the course of its five-year duration.

“The McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is vital to Murray State in affording opportunities to many of our first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students to continue in their graduate education,” said Murray State President Bob Davies. “The McNair program also works hand in hand with our TRIO support programs and aids those students as well in achieving their academic goals and dreams for the future. I am very proud of our entire team at Murray State and thankful to our federal delegation in Washington, D.C. who made this program a reality for us.”

Students in the McNair program at Murray State complete substantial research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors in their respective fields. Through funding from the grant and additional contributions from the University, students are provided research stipends and financial support for research equipment and conference travel. The program also assists in the application process for graduate schools through GRE preparation, application fee waivers and travel support. Additionally, the McNair program hosts monthly meetings and activities with topics ranging from writing research proposals to effectively managing time.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is funded and allocated by the U.S. Department of Education and was created by Congress in memory of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut killed in the 1986 Challenger explosion. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman James Comer, both of Kentucky, were integral in their support for the McNair program at Murray State.

“I was proud to support Murray State’s application to secure this competitive federal grant to expand educational opportunities for students who are underrepresented in post-baccalaureate programs,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “Murray State plans to use this critical funding to provide tools to assist graduate students overcoming socioeconomic and academic barriers, and I hope these worthy investments will help students achieve strong educational outcomes and become productive members of Kentucky’s workforce.”

Graduates from the McNair program at Murray State have pursued further study in a variety of fields, including agronomy, chemistry, engineering, music education, physics, political science, psychology, telecommunications systems management and more at universities across the country.

“The McNair scholarship program provides disadvantaged students with a great opportunity to further their education,” said Congressman James Comer, federal representative for Kentucky’s 1st District. “I was honored to help secure funding for students at Murray State University to be involved in research and projects with faculty. This is a long-term investment in the future by helping students overcome difficult situations to achieve success.”

The program is actively recruiting undergraduate scholars to participate. For further information about the McNair program at Murray State, please contact Leslie Furches, director, at or 270-809-2951.

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