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U.S. Department of Education Awards $1.1 Million to Clarkson University McNair Program to Prepare Students for Doctoral Study

The goal of the McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by underrepresented student groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"I'm extremely pleased to help deliver funding that will aid in restoring America's tradition of innovation and excellence in the sciences," said U.S. Congressman John M. McHugh. "Clarkson University stands as an impressive example of the results that hard work and ingenuity can deliver. I'm proud of Clarkson's significant contributions to the scientific community and I'm certain that this McNair grant will help a new generation of scholars set the path for our future."

Ronald E. McNair was among the Challenger Space Shuttle's seven-member crew, who met with tragedy and death in 1986. As a tribute to his lifelong achievements, Congress and the McNair family formed the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program to assist young people in not only following McNair's path, but in taking the initiative to blaze trails of their own.

Since its inception, Clarkson's' McNair program has provided intensive research experience and graduate school preparation to more than 160 students. The prestige of being a Clarkson McNair scholar is shared by only 24 students each year.

More than 60 percent of students who have participated in Clarkson's McNair program have continued their education in master's and doctoral degree programs, with a total undergraduate graduation rate of 98 percent.

The first Clarkson McNair scholar completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 2002. Since that time, five more scholars have completed their Ph.D. and 13 more are on track to complete their doctorates by spring 2008.

A tribute to the Clarkson McNair program's success is its strong collaboration with Clarkson faculty, who take the time to mentor McNair scholars through an intensive summer research project. Guidance is provided through the research process with added opportunities for conference presentations, networking and publishing possibilities.

To supplement the summer research component, the McNair program provides regular seminars and workshops on, research ethics, graduate school application process, graduate school funding sources and preparation for the Graduate Record of Exams (GRE) among other related topics.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty members achieve international recognition for their research and scholarship and connect students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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