The McNair Scholars Program is a unique organization on the Trinity campus dedicated to preparing qualified undergraduate students for success in graduate school and later on in life. Students are immersed in a variety of research opportunities, GRE prep courses and academic career support from program directors. It is reserved for low-income, first generation students or students from an underrepresented group in graduate education. The new McNair scholars are diverse, dedicated and strong-willed.

Sophomore Sonny Luna, a McNair Scholar, describes the program as teaching students how to be the ideal applicant for graduate school.

“The college readiness classes you took in high school but for college students going to graduate school. It’s far more intense, and it is built to make you a better student and a better applicant for the graduate world. Not only a better applicant but the model of what a graduate student should be. You do a lot of work before and research assignments helping you to succeed in that walk of life,” Luna said.

Luna, a San Antonio native, found out about Trinity University from her father, whom also attended the school. During high school, the McNair program began contacting her as a potential applicant. Her mother encouraged her to apply.

“My mother had instilled in me at a very young age to apply to everything. Every scholarship. Every opportunity,” Luna said.

A fine art major, Luna completed a research project through the McNair Scholar’s Program at a local school. She taught a class and then examined the children’s artwork for clues of creativity progression.

“We were looking at how creativity manifests in different levels of child development. It was my introduction on how research is technically supposed to go,” Luna said.

Luna aspires to attend either Pacific University or School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She hopes to teach elementary art or museum curate for children’s museums. Most of all, she would love to be a program writer who coordinates museum tours.

“I am a little less terrified of graduate school. I hadn’t prepared myself mentally at first for graduate school. Now I am a little less scared. They have assuaged my fears,” Luna said. “It is built as a progressive program. As you get older you become more and more involved. By the time you’re a senior, spring semester summer is pretty intense.”

Arnulfo Tunon, a neuroscience major from Mexico City benefits from the program in multiple ways.

“McNair has given me help on the sort of things most people have to struggle for a while to figure out. It’s avoided me a lot of stress in figuring out what to do after I graduate along with great information and help about how to realize my goals,” Tunon said.

Although he has not conducted any research yet, he hopes to do work in the neuroengineering field, and he is ultimately shooting for a PhD graduate program in neuroengineering.

Sophomore Alexis Daggett found out about the McNair Scholar’s program from a family member.

“I found out about the McNair scholar program through my sister who graduated this past year. She was also a scholar,” Daggett said.

Daggett is from Montello, Wisconsin, and she studies both chemistry and biology here at Trinity. Although she has not done any research through the Trinity program yet, she looks forward to conducting research this summer.

Daggett has aspirations to continuing her education to conduct research in either biology or chemistry, and she is leaning towards a career as a veterinarian.