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Twenty-five University of Wisconsin Oshkosh undergraduate students will get the chance to work side by side with University researchers, as part of a new $220,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program prepares undergraduates for doctoral study. The program invites applications from students who are first-generation college students, low-income and from underrepresented groups, such as African-American, Latino-American and Native-American.

“This is a first-time grant for UW Oshkosh,” said Marguerite Helmers, English professor and project director. “Students will be able to make personal connections with faculty members. The program will connect students with research, and it will also enable them to learn about the ways that graduate study leads to new career options.”

Preparation for an advanced degree will include pairing each undergraduate with a faculty mentor who will assist the student in designing and implementing an eight-week, summer research project. The intensive program will culminate in a poster and oral presentation with the potential for publication.

The research projects may range from beach and algae studies with biology faculty to an examination of the images printed with John Milton’s 17th century masterpiece “Paradise Lost.”

“The McNair Program will give undergraduates the incentive and skills they will need to discover that they can go on to graduate school,” said Mary Seaman, senior biology lecturer and project coordinator. “We’ll be like a cheerleading team, leading them on to the goal of getting a doctorate.”

Students accepted into the program also will attend seminars and workshops to enhance their oral and written communication skills, academic and career development, GRE preparation and application, and graduate school visits.

Student interested in applying, should contact Helmers at (920) 424-0916 or; or Seaman at (920) 414-7085 or