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The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at the University of North Dakota is a program within the Division of Student Affairs, funded by the United States Department of Education.
Program participants are undergraduates, juniors, or seniors, who are first generation and low income, or who are from a group underrepresented at the doctoral level of the targeted departments. The McNair Program encourages students to prepare for graduate studies by providing opportunities to define goals, engage in research, and to develop the skills and student faculty mentor relationships vital to success at the doctoral level.
McNair Faculty Focus: Dr. Daphne Pedersen
Reflections on McNair participation
Greetings! I’m Dr. Daphne Pedersen, a Professor in the Department of Sociology. A transplant from Utah, I’ve had the good fortune to work at UND since 2004 (although I do miss the mountains terribly!). One thing that keeps me here, despite the flat lands, is the fantastic students I get to work with each day. One of those students is Jordan Jaeger.
Jordan and I met while he was enrolled in my undergraduate statistics course. As a newly declared sociology major, Jordan wanted to get more hands-on experience in the discipline. His timing was perfect. I had just worked with a group of students to collect data about the health of UND students. Jordan came on board our research team as the group’s statistician – cleaning the data set, preparing it for use, and then doing some preliminary analyses using SPSS software. I believe he even told me a few times that “statistics is fun.” (Insert proud smiley-faced emoticon here.)
The work Jordan did with the data turned into his McNair project, and he’s received a lot of attention and well-deserved accolades. Jordan is studying parental involvement and student stress among first- and continuing-generation college students. He presented his work last fall at the annual meetings of the Great Plains Sociological Association, where he won first place in the poster competition (so proud!). He also presented his work at the annual McNair conference, and is getting ready for a larger audience. This spring he will give a presentation at the Midwest Sociological Society meetings in Chicago. He’s well on his way to graduate school and a successful career in sociology.
I’ve had the opportunity now to work with two great McNair students. Who benefits most from the McNair mentorship is debatable… It is a great privilege to work with such amazing undergraduates and support their academic and professional dreams. As a first generation college student myself, I wish I’d had the guidance and opportunities provided by the McNair Program.
- Faculty mentor/student relationship established.
- Research skills developed both library and laboratory.
- Personal and emotional counseling.
- GRE preparation.
- Aid in graduate school admissions.
- Research stipends.
- Tutoring and support group involvement.
- Assistance in securing appropriate financial aid.
- Academic advisement.
- Various seminars and workshops related to graduate education.
- Conference travel and possible graduate school visitation.
- Tuition assistance
Students who have completed sophomore year (60 semester hours) and
1. Are first generation college student and low income
2. Are from a group underrepresented in doctoral studies.
Creative, independent, undergraduates with good writing skills and a GPA of 3.0 who posses intellectual curiosity and who are interested in conducting research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
UND McNair Program receives 100% of its annual budget ($243,000) from the Dept. of Education.
Contact the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program: Assistant Director; Patrice Giese