University of Delaware
Kim Saunders, director of UD's McNair Scholars Program, at last year's national conference. UD will host the conference for the tenth consecutive year in 2012.

National McNair Conference

UD to host National McNair Scholars Research Conference, grad fair


2:31 p.m., Sept. 18, 2012--The University of Delaware will welcome students from across the United States to the National McNair Scholars Research Conference, Oct. 11-12.

“We are delighted to host this national event for the tenth consecutive year, and we encourage McNair Scholars from around the nation to attend,” said Kimberly Saunders, director of UD’s McNair program. 

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In light of recent national program funding cuts, the UD McNair Program is sponsoring the registration fees for up to two students from each McNair program that registers.

“Our University of Delaware conference offers scholars a variety of rewarding opportunities to enhance their skills and expand their horizons, from interactive professional development workshops and a research poster competition, to one of the network’s largest graduate fairs and a keynote address by a renowned speaker,” Saunders noted.

The keynote speaker will be Jeff Johnson, award-winning investigative journalist, social activist, motivational speaker, political commentator and author. Johnson is a regular contributor to MSNBC, CNN Headline News, CNN International and the Huffington Post. He also is the White House correspondent for In 2009, Johnson published his first book, Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am: Discovering Your Personal Best.

The goal of the McNair Scholars Program, which is named for the late physicist and NASA astronaut Ronald E. McNair, is to encourage low-income and first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program and ultimately pursue an academic career.

A major highlight of UD’s national conference will be a graduate fair featuring representatives from more than 90 graduate programs at the University and other institutions. 

“The McNair Scholars Program is excited to announce the merging of the UD McNair Graduate Fair and the Office of Graduate and Professional Education’s annual Grad Expo into one diversity outreach event in conjunction with the annual McNair Research Conference,” Saunders noted. 

During the graduate fair, set for Friday, Oct. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Trabant University Center, interested UD and regional college students, UD alumni and the community are invited to explore graduate school opportunities and attend valuable concurrent graduate school preparation panel discussions.

Tours of the UD campus and one-on-one meetings with UD faculty also will be offered. A first-ever poetry slam with cash prizes will be among the social events. 

Early-bird registration for McNair students and staff is open until Sept. 28. Late registration is open until Oct. 5. 

For more information, visit the conference website or contact Tiffany Scott, program coordinator of UD’s McNair Scholars Program, at or 302-831-4396.

About the McNair Scholars Program

One of eight federally funded TRIO Programs, the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program offers effective preparation for doctoral study to low-income, first-generation college students and students from groups underrepresented in graduate education.

The program is named for the late physicist and NASA astronaut Ronald E. McNair, whose many distinctions include being a Presidential Scholar, a Ford Foundation Fellow, a National Fellowship Fund Fellow and a NATO Fellow. He was also a sixth degree black belt in karate and an accomplished saxophonist. 

His first space shuttle mission launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center in 1984. Two years later, he was selected to serve as mission specialist aboard the ill-fated U.S. Challenger space shuttle. After his death, Congress provided funding for the McNair Scholars Program, which is dedicated to the high standards of achievement he inspired. 

Article by Tracey Bryant

Photos by Kevin Quinlan

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