TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama has named Jacqueline Morgan as manager of the recently funded U.S. Department of Education TRIO program, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
The McNair Scholars Program is a federal grant awarded to higher education institutions for projects designed to provide disadvantaged junior and senior college students with effective preparation for doctoral study. The purpose of the McNair Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds entering graduate studies leading to a doctorate degree.
The U.S. Department of Education in 1989 initiated the McNair Program. It is in memory of Ronald E. McNair, who gained recognition as an expert in laser physics at Hughes Research Laboratory. McNair also earned a Ph.D. in physics at the age of 26 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 and was mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the space shuttle Challenger. McNair was married and had two children at the time of his death in 1986 aboard the Challenger.
Morgan, a Ph.D. candidate in UA’s counselor education program, served as a counselor in the University’s Student Support Services for three years. Her prior experience includes teaching at both the secondary and post-secondary levels as well as designing programs for court-referred adolescents. She also is involved as community volunteer which includes being a founding board member of the new East Tuscaloosa Family Resource Center and serving as the 1998-99 president of The Junior League of Tuscaloosa.
“I am committed both as a professional and community volunteer to helping people overcome obstacles in order to reach their potential,” Morgan said. “Building an exemplary McNair Scholars Program at The University of Alabama will enable us, as a university community, to invest in the development of leading scholars in their chosen disciplines.”
Dr. Gary Hoover, a UA assistant professor of economics and former McNair Scholar, has agreed to be a faculty mentor for UA’s McNair Program. “Without the help of the McNair program, I doubt I would have been able to fully appreciate what it meant to be a scholar, to search out answers to questions that hadn’t previously been asked. It (The McNair Scholars Program) begins the process of helping students do the critical thinking and research that leads to scholarly work,” said Hoover.
UA’s McNair Scholars Program will be housed in the Center for Teaching and Learning and will enroll 20 participants each year. Undergraduate students who meet the following criteria are eligible to submit an application: completion of at least 60 hours; a 2.75 cumulative GPA; and, either a first-generation college student with an income level established by the U.S. Department of Education or a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education. A panel composed of University faculty and staff reviews applications and selects 20 students to participate each year.
McNair scholars will receive services such as academic tutoring, career development, preparation for graduate admissions tests, ongoing counseling and mentoring, travel opportunities and summer research internships. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, the McNair scholars will develop and complete a research project during their summer term between their junior and senior year. Upon completion, students are expected to present their results through both formal oral presentations at academic conferences and publishable papers. A stipend and money for research supplies are provided for each student.
The McNair Scholars Program can be contacted by telephone at 205/348-0572, by fax at 205/348-0447, and by mail at Box 870304, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0304. The office is located in 326 Osband Hall.
Carin Charles or Linda Hill, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-8325