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NMSU awarded $1.3 million to benefit underrepresented students

Release Date: 30 Aug 2022
NMSU awarded $1.3 million to benefit underrepresented students

A recent award from the United States Department of Education to New Mexico State University means NMSU can now offer a program that will support underrepresented students who want to achieve doctoral degrees.

Under an effort led by Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Tony Marin, NMSU will receive $1.3 million over the next five years to support the McNair Scholars Program, a federal TRIO program designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair Scholars are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.

Marin was joined by a team of co-investigators to bring the McNair Scholars Program to NMSU after a 15-year absence. The team included Honors College Dean Phame Camarena, former interim College of Health, Education and Social Transformation Dean Henrietta Pichon and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Professor Merranda Marin.

“What is neat about this team is that all of us were first-generation college students who went on to earn our Ph.D.s, just like the McNair program objectives,” Camarena said. “This was a personal labor of love for us with over a year of planning and work together to make this happen.”

Merranda Marin added, “Now, as a faculty member, I find it to be quite an honor to be able to assist new generations to look forward towards doctorate degrees as well as the social mobility and other opportunities that can bring.”

Camarena, Tony Marin and Merranda Marin will head the advisory and guiding team as co-principal investigators for the grant.

“The addition of the McNair Program to the NMSU campus will provide invaluable support for first-generation, income sensitive and traditionally underrepresented students who aspire to achieve a doctoral education,” Tony Marin said. “The effort to secure the McNair Program demonstrates one of many academic and student service collaborations that occurs daily on our campus for the benefit of our Aggies. Through mentorship from our world-class faculty, support from our student service units and administrative oversight by the leadership of New Mexico’s first Honors College, I have no doubt the program will be successful in meeting the stated objectives.”

The McNair Scholars Program at NMSU is a partnership between Student Support Services and the Honors College. It will be administered through the Honors College but is a full campus effort, from recruitment to sending students to graduate training. Students and faculty from each of NMSU’s colleges will be involved in the program, which is also open to other programs on campus designed to elevate student success.

The program is named after Ronald E. McNair, the physicist and NASA astronaut who died during the launch of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. In 1984, he became the second African American to fly in space.

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CUTLINE: New Mexico State University will receive $1.3 million over the next five years from the United States Department of Education to support the McNair Scholars Program, a federal TRIO program designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

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