McNair summer research intensive

Students who participate in the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair) are required to participate in research. And it is mandatory for each McNair program to facilitate research experiences for its students. 

The McNair summer research intensive was created to fulfill these requirements and familiarize students with the concept and process of research. 

Two women read "The Undeserving Poor"
Creating the literature review. Aisha Abdul-Hagg with faculty mentor, Dr. Debbie Jackson.

The importance of research in McNair

The McNair program is created with the very idea to prepare students for graduate studies. Most McNair students are seeking a Ph.D—and research is going to be a part of their lives for years to come. 

The McNair summer research intensive is just one step to getting these students ready for the next part of their academic journey. This program also expands student’s networks, as they make personal and professional connections in the field. 

McNair students do not have to pursue their research requirements through the summer research intensive, but it is a great option for students in the program to grow their hands-on experience and networks as they prepare for academic life after their bachelor’s degree.

McNair students posing together on couches
McNair students in their former space in LBC.

Meet our students

Chris Smith classroom lab

Tra-Vaughn James ’23

Computer science major

Tra-Vaughn had a good experience with the McNair Program, as he gained connections and familiarity in research and his future career field. His potential interest in a graduate degree is what attracted Tra-Vaughn to the McNair Program, but specifically, the summer research he did through Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. 

During his summer research intensive, Tra-Vaughn completed a fellowship where he learned the basics of cyber security and gained an overview of the field. Through this program he saw what his career might look like if he chooses to pursue cyber security after graduation. 

“You really don’t know what you want to do until you do it, so learning by experience is much more preferably than sitting in the classroom and absorbing information. Research is essential when you want to find out exactly what you want to do.” 

David Barbella

David Barbella

Associate professor of computer science

David has led summer research projects for a total of five years.  He loves working with students and learning more about their unique approach to problems. David has seen numerous students gain experience from working on real-world research problems—and has even had the privilege of seeing these students move on to graduate research programs.

“I think it is important that students have the opportunity to get research experience as soon as possible. We practice with them on communicating their work and it is wonderful to see students share their research during the Epic Expo.”

What difference does collaborative research make?

“Confidence is the overall change I see in many of our students. Faculty have high praise for our students after research and they help in encouraging them to continue their education. Exposing them to what they would experience as a graduate student inspires students and lets them know that they are capable of succeeding at that level.”

Joe Green, McNair program director

Want to learn more about the McNair program?

The McNair program works to help underrepresented students on their path to a Ph.D. Program leaders, Joe Green and Donna McCormick are happy to answer any questions you have.