NOTE: This post is for new scholars especially, but it might also be nice for “older” scholars to revisit the meaning of McNair.
So you applied and were invited to participate in this thing called McNair. Now what? First and foremost, we would like you to fully understand our mission and what we are aiming to achieve with each student who becomes a McNair scholar. It’s a special thing, it’s a special opportunity. It’s a chance for you to explore what it means, explore what it would take and explore whether you have the passion, drive and desire to achieve an advanced degree in your field. By doing so, you have the potential to become a leading voice in solving our most urgent problems through research and other cutting edge involvement in your area of expertise.
What this means while you are still at CMU >>> you get to “try on this notion of grad school and becoming a scholar researcher” to see how it might feel to you.
It’s never a one-size-fits-all, so each person will have come to the table with an entirely unique set of experiences, personal background, challenges overcome and still overcoming, particular interests and natural propensities. All of these things will meld with your McNair experience working alongside a faculty mentor, your fellow scholar mates, key staff and an assortment of kick-ass folk we try to lasso in to impart wisdom, inspiration, and sometimes, an entirely different way of looking at things even. You will all have the basics when it comes to doing research, presenting research, attending workshops, exploring grad school options and building your credentials and skill sets. It’s what each of you chooses to do in response to these opportunities that will lead to the most logical next step for you.
>>> So is McNair about exposing you to research and grad school? Yes.
>>> Is McNair about growing confidence in your abilities – academic and otherwise? Yes.
>>> Is McNair about exposing you to options for your education and careers, and really, your future? Yes.
>>> Is McNair about nurturing yourself in ways that will lead to a stronger self – both outwardly and inwardly? Yes.
>>> Is McNair about developing the belief and mindset that you can choose to advance yourself in any way you choose? Absolutely yes.
That’s it in a nutshell. McNair is about graduate school but it’s really about so much more. Approach being a scholar with an open mind and you’ll be surprised where it might take you.
It’s about trying on some ideas about life and seeing how they might fit with you – how they might fit with your vision of yourself and your future. Go ahead and grab hold of this special opportunity – and be sure to put your heart into it.