The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

  • Federally-funded TRiO grant program named for one of the Space Shuttle Challenger's astronauts, Dr. Ronald E. McNair
  • Encourages low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented undergraduates to pursue graduate studies

The overall goal of the McNair Program is to increase the number of students from these populations that attain a Ph.D. The intent is to honor the high standards of achievement demonstrated by Dr. McNair.

McNair at Iowa State

The first McNair grant was awarded to Iowa State University in 1995 under the administration of Dr. George A. Jackson who wrote the successful proposal. Dr. Jackson, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, at the time, had already been awarded the grant for the TRiO Student Support Services Program at Iowa State. Over the next 20+ years, the McNair Program at Iowa State has served over 500 students.


More About Ronald E. McNair

Ronald Erwin McNair was born in Lake City, South Carolina. He received a bachelor’s degree in Physics from North Carolina A&T State University and earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by age 26. After MIT, Dr. McNair joined the Hughes Research Laboratories as a physicist. Two years later he became one of NASA's astronaut candidates. By 1979, McNair qualified for an assignment as a Mission Specialist Astronaut and assigned to his first mission aboard the Challenger at Kennedy Space Center on February 3, 1984 . One of his responsibilites included operating the payload projects and experiments. While McNair first mission on the Challenger was a success, landing February 11,1984, his second and last Challenger mission was unsuccessful. On Jan. 28, 1986, Ronald E. McNair along with six other crew members died tragically when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after its launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.