June 17, 2008

Charleston Resident Named McNair Scholar

Ashley Barnes of Charleston, a psychology major at West Virginia University, was one of 14 WVU students named 2008 McNair Scholars recently.

With the scholarship, Barnes will receive academic stipends, faculty mentors, graduate school placement assistance and professional development opportunities to aid in identifying and gaining admission into master's and doctoral programs.

"These students have already achieved a great deal academically," said Betty Mei, assistant director of the WVU McNair Scholars Program. "Now, as recipients of the McNair Scholarship, they will be afforded incredible opportunities to develop their professional skills, engage in research projects and be exposed to some of the country's top academic programs as they decide where to pursue graduate work."

The McNair Scholars Program helps prepare first-generation college students and minorities underrepresented in graduate education for doctoral studies through independent research and other scholarly activities.

The program's namesake was engineer, scientist and NASA astronaut, Ronald E. McNair, who was killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion.

McNair Scholars also have an opportunity to travel to graduate schools across the nation. Through campus visits, students are able to meet with faculty members and learn about a variety of graduate programs and network with others in their fields of interest.

Faculty mentors and support staff at WVU provide academic counseling and assistance as scholars apply to graduate programs. The program also teams participants with a student mentor who has participated in the McNair Scholars Program and is currently enrolled in graduate school.

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