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McNair Program Assists Students Pursuing Doctoral Degrees
Students are being encouraged to pursue graduate studies through the McNair Postbaccaluareate Achievement Program.

December 15, 2005
by Gail Matsunaga

Of the 64 Ronald E. McNair Postbaccaluareate Achievement Program scholars who have graduated from Cal State Fullerton, nine have directly gone on to pursue doctoral degrees. For a university with a McNair program that isn’t a doctorate-granting institution, that’s especially impressive, according to Gerald Bryant, director of the McNair program.

Forty-eight scholars have pursued master’s degrees — representing their alma mater at universities in 15 states and at seven of the nine University of California campuses.

Currently in its fourth of a five-year grant, the program encourages students to pursue graduate studies and provides opportunities to define goals, engage in research and develop the skills and student/faculty mentor relationships critical to success at the doctoral level.

‘They came back with a more mature sense of what it means to go to grad school...”

Among the most recent highlights, says Bryant, was this past summer’s trip to Washington, D.C., to visit universities in the region, including Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Howard and University of Virginia. Most of the eight participating students had never been east of the Mississippi River and being in the nation’s capital “really opened their eyes to the bigger picture,” he says. “They came back with a more mature sense of what it means to go to grad school and what a Ph.D. will do for their careers, and on an international scope.

“They started to understand the political aspects of research; that they must be attuned to the political nature of policy-making and its impact on research.”

The program is among several funded by the U.S. Department of Education, which has awarded more than $860,000 to the university — all to benefit local high school and CSUF students, including those participating in Upward Bound South and Student Support Services. The programs strive to facilitate and encourage students to pursue undergraduate and doctoral degrees.

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