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TRIO McNair Scholars Program


TRIO McNair Programs were established in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Education and named after astronaut and Challenger space shuttle crew member Dr. Ron McNair.

The Idaho State University TRIO McNair Scholars Program is 100% federally-funded.  The program is one of several TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education supporting the academic achievement of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

The purpose of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program is to assist with the academic and professional development of undergraduate students whose goals are to teach and research at the college level. In order to help students achieve those goals, the program sponsors and supports undergraduate experiences that lay the foundation for a successful graduate school experience. By fostering mentoring relationships, promoting undergraduate research, assisting with GRE preparation, and encouraging students to attend and present at conferences, we aim to produce highly competitive graduate school applicants who have the skills and experiences necessary to succeed in their programs.

I Am McNair


Students excited at graduation line

Program Benefits 

Applicants who are selected to join the McNair Scholars Program will be offered the opportunity to:

  • Participate in a paid research internship
  • Work with a faculty member in their chosen field
  • Present their research at a regional or national conference
  • Learn about opportunities in graduate studies in their chosen field
  • Receive graduate school application assistance and advocacy, including funding
  • opportunities
  • Participate in GRE test preparation
  • Visit graduate schools and present their research at conferences
  • Receive academic counseling and tutoring as needed during their undergraduate careers at Idaho State University 

If you are interested in applying to the TRIO McNair Scholars Program, you can pick up an application from The TRIO Central Office located on the 4th floor of the Museum Building; Room 446. You can also print out an application and when completely filled, you can drop it off at the TRIO Central Office or mail it to: 921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 8345 Pocatello, ID 83209

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Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for the McNair Scholars Program must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Qualify as either a first-generation college student (neither parent has a bachelor’s degree) whose household meets the low-income guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education; or as a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education. The U.S. Department of Education currently defines “underrepresented groups" specifically as Native American, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, and African-American.
  • Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • Be a first-time degree-seeking undergraduate student at Idaho State University
  • Completed at least 58 credits hours by the time of program enrollment
  • Possess and maintain a competitive cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Have a sincere desire to complete a PhD.


Schedule an Appointment  

If you are interested in knowing more about the TRIO McNair Scholars Program and would like to talk to a McNair Advisor, you can call (208) 282-1433 or email to make an appointment.

We are located at the TRIO Central Office located on the 4th floor of the Museum Building; Room 446.


McNair Faculty Partners

Students hearing lecture from teacher outside quad in the summer

Finding a mentor who is willing to supervise the academic and research process for TRIO McNair Scholars is an integral part of this program. Faculty Partners serve as guides to an in-depth field of study, experts on specific topics and, in many cases, academic coaches and friends. Once admitted into the TRIO McNair Scholars Program, each scholar will be assigned a Research Mentor (RM) and Faculty Mentor (FM). McNair staff will work to identify mentors who are compatible for each student based major and research interest.


Research Mentor 

A Research Mentor (RM) will work with the student on his/her research interest for a minimum of two semesters (summer semester and the students second fall semester). The RM will oversee the student’s summer research internship. RM’s will work closely with the TRIO-McNair Scholars to design the specific research project the students will conduct. RM’s will be paired with the participant through assessment of research interest, a mentor café where researches and McNair Scholars have a roundtable discussion. RM’s assist the scholars with selecting a research project, conceptualizing the research design, preparing a research proposal, analyzing research data, writing and revising results, and learn how to disseminate results. RM’s will also suggest articles to read, share their personal graduate school experiences, listen to and respond to mentee(s)’ concerns, discuss strategies for studying and time management, and offer support towards graduate studies. The RM will play a critical key role in building the scholars’ academic preparedness and self-confidence with the FM’s high expectations, encouragement and guidance.

The TRIO McNair Scholars Program accepts Research Mentors on a rolling bases. If you are interested in becoming a Research Mentor, please fill out a Research Mentor Application or call the TRIO Central Office at (208) 282-3242. We can also be reached by email at for questions or concerns.  

Faculty Mentor

A Faculty Mentor (FM) will work with the student from the beginning of the student’s participation in the TRIO McNair Program. The FM will be assigned to the student by the TRIO McNair Director and work with the McNair Scholar throughout the two years the student is involved in the program. The FM pairing will be based on the participant’s discipline, interest, and other assessed needs that match with the FM’s area of academic expertise. The FM will meet with the student every other week to provide guidance, networking opportunities, graduate application assistance, and overall support for the student’s quest for a doctoral degree.

The TRIO McNair Scholars Program accepts Faculty Mentors on a rolling bases. If you are interested in becoming one, please fill out a Faculty Mentor Application or call the TRIO Central Office at (208) 282-3242. We can also be reached by email at for questions or concerns.


TRIO McNair Faculty & Staff

Sari Byerly

Sari Byerly, PhD

TRIO Access and Opportunity Programs Executive Director

(208) 282-3242


Alma Jam

Alma Jam

TRIO McNair Program Advisor

Office: Museum Bldg. 4th floor Rm. 402

(208) 282-1433


Shea Robison

Shea K. Robison, PhD

TRIO McNair Program Coordinator

Office: Museum Bldg., 4th floor Rm. 402

(208) 282-1433


Dr. Barbara Wood Roberts

Barbara Wood Roberts

TRIO McNair Program Coordinator

Office: Museum Bldg., 4th floor Rm. 402

(208) 282-1433


TRIO McNair Scholars Program Faculty and Staff

McNair Faculty and Staff

(Top Row: Left to Right) Dr. Shea Robison Barbara Wood Roberts

(Bottom Row: Left to Right) Alma Jam  Dr. Sari Byerly

Contact Us

(208) 282-3242

(208) 282-4864

TRIO Central Office

921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 8345

Pocatello, ID 83209

Location: Museum Building Room 446


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209

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