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Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Austin and friends talking on balcony

McNair Scholars Program enables Trinity undergraduates to succeed in pursuit of graduate studies

by Margaret Miller

McNair Scholar and urban studies major Austin Champagne ’22 aspires to attend graduate school for a master’s in urban planning and become involved in city politics as head of a transit agency or city manager. This fall, the McNair Scholars Program will underwrite the cost for him to attend The Future of Urban Texas Conference at the University of Houston. The program has been instrumental in opening doors to enhance Austin’s Trinity experience in a number of ways.

“The McNair Scholars Program has been spectacular,” he says. “The staff has connected me with tutoring staff to improve my Spanish and helped select my adviser for summer research. They’ve also alerted me about additional opportunities on campus, including the 1869 Scholars Mentor Program. I was matched with a mentor from the class of ’77, and she has been an incredible resource for personal growth, as well as sharing additional possibilities and experiences relating to my studies.”

Named for NASA astronaut and physicist Ronald E. McNair, the McNair Scholars Program prepares well-qualified undergraduate students for success in doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Since 2007, the program has served more than 150 first-generation, low-income, and/or racially/ethnically underrepresented students at Trinity. Beginning their sophomore year, McNair scholars benefit from an array of academic and career counseling services, as well as a paid summer research experience, expense-paid travel to conferences and research institutions, and assistance with GRE test preparation and graduate school applications.

“The McNair Scholars Program has given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and I appreciate the resources it’s providing throughout my college career as well as the benefits after graduation,” Austin says. “I’m grateful that there are donors willing to support the program.”

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