Gannon University Receives $1 Million Grant to Prepare Students for Doctoral Studies

Posted: December 15, 2017

Gannon University has received a five-year grant of more than $1.16 million from the U.S. Department of Education through the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

The McNair Program, a federal TRIO program aims to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and scholarship. Participants are either first-generation college students with financial need and/or students from a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate education who have demonstrated strong academic potential, including women. Colleges and universities work closely with participants as they complete their undergraduate academic requirements, research and apply to graduate programs, and track their progress through successful completion of an advanced degree.

With the help of the McNair grant, Gannon University created the Gannon Advances in STEM Scholarship (GAINS) program that will provide support to 25 scholars each year. Eligible students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors will learn basic research methods, conduct original research over the course of a summer, present their research, and participate in a new, four-part Graduate Education Leadership Seminar that explores post-baccalaureate education, GRE preparation, research writing and presentation, and a speaker series. Each student will be paired with a faculty mentor.

"It's an opportunity for our undergraduate students to become more engaged and learn more about the process so they continue on to graduate school and obtain their Ph.D.'s," said Donna Green, director of Sponsored Programs & Research at Gannon.

Participating students will also take part in enhanced tutoring and have the opportunity to participate in graduate school visits and graduate school fairs through GAINS. The program removes barriers to advanced higher education, said Sarah Ewing, dean of Gannon's Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.

"(First-generation and underrepresented) students don't always have the support needed," Ewing said.  "They don't always know what graduate school is and what it entails. This program provides them with the structure and mentors to begin exploring and pursuing this path for themselves."

Increasing the number of first-generation and underrepresented students who attain advanced degrees helps develop the workforce, improves workforce diversity, and bolsters the earning power and career prospects of those students.

"It's vitally important for the future of STEM that we have diversity, diversity of thought and ideas," Ewing said.

McNair Scholars at Gannon must be U.S. citizens or national or permanent residents; must be undergraduate students in STEM majors who are also low-income, first-generation or a member of a group underrepresented in the STEM fields; and must be committed to graduate from Gannon and immediately enter a non-professional graduate program with the goal of attaining a Ph.D.

For more information, contact Donna Green at 871-7728 or at green022@gannon.edu.