TRIO McNair Faculty Mentor Description

Being a McNair faculty mentor means supervising an undergraduate who will participate in your research during the ten-week summer research and graduate school preparation program (approximately May 27-August 1).  The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase the rate of doctoral program applications, degree attainment and participation in the professoriate by first-generation college students who are underrepresented in graduate programs.

The main focus of the Junior Year is the summer residential research component.  Faculty and Scholars are matched according to common research interests.  During Spring Semester, Scholars consult with their faculty mentor to plan the research experience including the timeline, tasks, and activities.  Faculty mentors supervise and monitor the research experience defining a meaningful role for the Scholar, mentor/advise the Scholar during and after the research experience, teach quality research methods, and evaluate student progress.  McNair Scholars Faculty mentors receive a $1000 stipend upon completion of the summer research experience.

Jeff and Carlos
Sharon and Team
Faculty Mentor Dr. Jeff Schwinefus, in the Chemistry department, attends the 2014 St. Olaf Summer Research Symposium as his mentee, Carlos Riviera, presents his research. Faculty Mentor, Dr. Sharon Lane-Getaz poses with TRIO McNair Scholar, Mariah Dubose, and the rest of their research team.

McNair Faculty Mentor Expectations


  1. Provide outline of current research and ideas for scholar projects
  2. Meet with scholar to develop research proposal
  3. Direct student research
  4. Integrate scholar on research team
  5. Teach experimental design, research techniques, data analysis, academic writing
  6. Guide data analysis and technical report writing
  7. Evaluate student research/contribution to team
  8. Present results with student at conferences or poster sessions
  9. Provide feedback on symposia poster session
  10. Provide opportunities for scholarly publication


  1. Provide informal mentoring and role modeling
  2. Help build motivation for doctoral study
  3. Encourage doctoral study
  4. Engage students in informal study, department meetings. seminars, etc.
  5. Assist scholar in choosing graduate schools/programs
  6. Provide progress reports and contacts with McNair Scholars staff during the summer
Dr. Jeremy Loebach and Zoua Xiong conduct research during the summer of 2013 on “the Training and Rehabilitation Program for New Adult Cochlear Implant Users.” Britt Letcher conducts research during the summer of 2013 with Dr. Ted Thornhill in the Sociology department on “Racism and Bilingualism in the American Job Market.”