FVSU Awarded $1.16 Million Dept. of Education McNair Program Grant

Posted on Oct 29, 2017

Fort Valley State University's acquisition of the McNair Grant is a "˜game changer.'" -Dr. Shirley McClelland

(Image caption: Dr. Shirley McClelland, left, and Dr. Davida Curtis, right.)

Fort Valley State University has received a five-year, $1,161,325 Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program Grant. Named after Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an American physicist and astronaut who was lost in NASA's space shuttle disaster in 1986, the prestigious program is committed to increasing the number of students in doctoral programs who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are members of the groups traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas of study.

The primary focus of the FVSU McNair Scholars program is to prepare students for graduate studies. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with advisors and faculty mentors, who will help them to achieve their academic goals, as well as to acquire skills requisite to conducting high quality scholarly research. Students will also acquire knowledge about graduate education, develop a better understanding of the accessibility of graduate education, and increase their chances of acceptance into a graduate program. During this process, McNair scholars will become familiar with the research environment and establish a supportive network of academic professionals and peers across the nation. FVSU McNair Scholars will participate in the McNair Summer Research Institute and receive up to a $2,800 stipend.

The co-principal investigators for this highly competitive grant are Dr. Davida Curtis and Dr. Shirley McClellan.

"Fort Valley State University's acquisition of the McNair Grant is a "˜game changer' for the institution because it will provide the additional nurturing that our STEM students need to extend research activities that are already occurring on campus," said McClellan, director of FVSU's TRIO Educational Talent Search. "I am very excited because they will have additional resources to engage in scholarly research such as mentorships, internships, seminars, participation in regional and national research conferences, a Summer Research Institute on FVSU's campus, relationship building, stipends and so much more to prepare for graduate school and the ultimate Ph.D. degree."

"Of the eight TRIO programs, the Ronald E. McNair program is deemed the "Crown Jewel" in the TRIO community," added Curtis. "It is an honor to be amongst Georgia's other flagship institutions receiving this prestigious grant. I am very excited for our students who will get to experience what it means to produce impactful research. Since getting an opportunity to take other TRIO Student Support Services students to McNair conferences in Atlanta to present their research, it has been my dream to see the legacy of Dr. McNair resonate here on FVSU's campus through this award. Many of the stories of our first-generation students echo the experiences and sacrifices made by Dr. McNair, and I can't wait to help them achieve their doctoral destinations through the opportunities afforded with this program. Additionally, through this program, I hope to help launch an FVSU McNair Scholars Journal, showcasing collaboration between our student's research aspirations beyond undergraduate study and the scholarship of our top notch faculty."

Dr. Curtis is director of the TRIO Student Support Services Program in FVSU's Center for Retention Services and an instructor in the Department of Math and Computer Science.

The program will collaborate with numerous partners on campus, including faculty members, Student Support Services, Undergraduate Research Program, Honors Program, Dual Enrollment, Center for Retention Services, Office of Career Services, Upward Bound, and Educational Talent Search. The McNair Scholars Program is one the eight programs collectively known as the Federal TRIO programs and is funded by the U. S. Department of Education.


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