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PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

Article Title

Beyond the Program Year: Graduates Students’ Understanding of How McNair Scholars Program Participation Impacts Their Experiences in Graduate School

Abstract

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program‘s goal is to introduce first-generation, low-income, underrepresented group college students to effective strategies for succeeding in graduate programs. One way to explore program effectiveness beyond graduate admission is to ask the McNair graduates themselves. This interview study explores McNair graduates understandings of issues they face in adjusting to graduate school and how McNair participation prepared them for addressing these issues. Typically McNair program evaluations emphasize the collection and analysis of quantitative data – e.g. academic performance and degree attainment; however, little qualitative research has been conducted on graduate‘s perceptions of the impact of program participation on graduate school adjustment and success. Using Bourdieu‘s concept of cultural capital, along with Sociology-based ideas of role-as-resource and role mastery, this study will explore students‘ perceptions of the McNair program‘s effectiveness in regards to helping them understand the ―graduate student‖ role and to use that role to succeed in graduate school.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Peter Collier