Concord University header logo

McNair Program Helps College Students Reach for the Stars

McNair Program Helps College Students Reach for the Stars

Athens, W.Va. - Four graduating seniors will soon be reaching for their own personal star with the help of the McNair Scholarship Program at Concord College.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program designed to prepare students to participate in doctoral study programs. The program provides enriching experiences to prepare undergraduates for doctoral study including a research internship, seminars and workshops, interactions with faculty and the opportunity to attend and present their research at national meetings. The program provides a stipend to allow students to pursue a summer research project.

“TRIO programs are some of the best-kept secrets in higher education,” stated Tim Oxley, director of sponsored programs. “We need to spread the word about the good works of McNair and other programs.”

“This was the first McNair program in West Virginia,” noted Dr. Kristin Jenkins, director of the program. “The second was started at WVU. We have had 107 students go through this program and currently have 27 who have either completed graduate school or are in graduate school.”

Students conduct research projects in their field-of-study under the direction of a faculty member who serves as their mentor. The students presented the findings of their projects in a formal presentation Wednesday, December 5.

Raymond Skroback, Princeton, W.Va., presented Software Engineering in a 3D Virtual Environment. Dr. David Fleming was his mentor. Mardis Hall, a West Virginia State College student, presented his research project, The Courtship of Coal and Skyscrapers: A Case Study of the Social Assimilation of First-Time Black Freshmen Attending a Predominantly White HBCU (Historically Black College or University), West Virginia State College. His mentor was Dr. James Natsis. Gil Catron, Princeton, W.Va., presented Stress: Origins and Management Techniques Used Among College Students. His mentor was Dr. Michael Olpin. And, Sarah Belcher, Princeton, W.Va., presented Important Bird Areas in West Virginia. Her mentor was Dr. Ronald Canterbury.

Mr. Catron noted during his presentation that stress accelerates the rate of living and that negative stress destroys. Some examples of events that cause stress are the death or dying of a loved one, divorce, personal illness, over-commitment “a big problem for college students,” and burnout or depression.

Dr. Dean Turner, academic dean and professor of music, was the keynote speaker. He used music—popular tunes he played on a clarinet—to make his points. “Be careful what you wish for,” chuckled Turner, after playing When You Wish Upon A Star, “because you may get it!”

For more information about the McNair program at Concord, call 1-304-384-6019 or e-mail


Photo: Gil Catron, Princeton, W.Va., talks about the stresses encountered by college students.