McNair Boot Camp!

Welcome Murray State University
Graduate School Training Camp Participants!


2006 Scholars in Kentucky

2006 Scholars in Kentucky

I am so excited to participate in this year’s camp and to get to know each of you. This is a terrific opportunity to network with other McNair scholars around the country – and learn everything you can about getting yourself into a fully funded Ph.D. program!

I have fond memories of the Grad School Boot Camp through the years – initially created and hosted by Indiana University and now hosted by Murray State University. This picture is of our 2006 CMU McNair scholars taking a break during camp and hanging out on the lake. That’s TEN YEARS AGO already!!

Here you may access the handouts and PowerPoint’s associated with my presentations on the Grad App Process, Getting the Money and Taking Care of YOU on the Road to the Doctorate.

Be sure to sign up for a Trello account @ and then shoot me an email at with your username if you would like me to send you to a *customizable* CMU GRAD APP TRACKER BOARD that you can then tailor for your own use. 

Email me by September 1 and tell me that your ESSENTIALS are complete!
Can’t wait to hear about your success!

Grad App Process (PowerPoint)
Camp Handout_Grad Apps
Camp Handout_I Will Achieve My Ph.D.
Camp Handout_Essentials
Camp_Handout_Weekly Grad School Selection
Camp Handout_Weekly Research Exploration

Getting the Money (PowerPoint)
Camp Handout_Money

Taking Care of You (PowerPoint)
Camp Handout_Self Care

Life is Like a Zip Line (blog post)
A Credo for Making it Happen (Video)
A Credo For Making it Happen (Handout)

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Life is Like a Zip Line

Staff post: By Kim Whitney, Program Assistant

Working with McNair, I have a wide variety of conversations with our scholars.  Anything and everything is fair game with me.  Recently Donovan (a 2014 scholar) and I were discussing Summer Research Opportunities (SROPs) and grad school.  What if he doesn’t get accepted to any programs?  What if he does?

It is human nature to think (and worry) about what the future holds and the changes it will bring.  You never know…not until you are living in that moment.  It can be exciting and scary both at the same time.  At first I wasn’t sure what to say to Donovan to help him put things in perspective without diminishing his fears, but then it hit me…”Life is like a zip line.”

Let me back up and give you a little history behind Donovan and zip lines.  At the beginning of the McNair journey we have a retreat at Cran-Hill Ranch.  The scholars are given the opportunity to maneuver through an outdoor high ropes course that ends in a zip line.  Donovan isn’t fond of heights, so climbing up a steep ladder and manipulating through the course took tremendous bravery.  He stood on the final platform (high up in the trees mind you) preparing himself for that plunge onto the zip line.  It took him awhile, as he let others pass him by, but he found the courage to take that step off the ledge.


Donovan “jumping into the unknown!”

Isn’t that really the same as life?  As scary as some of life’s choices may be, you can either jump off the ledge and enjoy the thrill of the ride, or you can stand there and let life pass you by.

After Donovan was done we asked him how he felt.  He felt proud and exhilarated having faced his fears.  You will never know what life will offer you unless you keep on moving forward.  So be brave, take the plunge and enjoy life.

–Kim :)