Research Component

As soon as you are admitted to the McNair Program, you should begin the process of selecting a research project.

First-year scholars will set up a research project with a research mentor, apply for UCARE, and develop the project throughout the academic year. Your research mentor will guide you through the research process and introduce you to professionals and professional behavior in the field. McNair Program Staff members are available to assist you in the development of your proposal.

The following is a typical research schedule:

  • October and November
    • Identify a faculty mentor
    • Identify a research topic
    • Complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training
  • January
    • Complete CITI certification (if applicable)
    • Complete an IRB protocol (if applicable)
  • February and March
    • Submit McNair Summer Research Proposal
    • Submit UCARE proposal
    • Begin Literature Review
  • June and July
    • Conduct McNair Summer Research
    • Provide research progress updates
    • Complete research paper
    • Create research oral and poster presentation
    • Present at the UNL Research Colloquium
  • July/August
    • Present at a National McNair Research Symposium
  • September
    • Begin UCARE research

McNair Summer Research Experience

The McNair Summer Research Experience is a vital component of the UNL McNair Scholars Program. During the Summer Research Experience, you'll develop critical research skills as well as the ability to communicate your research results both in written and oral forms. You'll learn how to prepare a proposal, conduct a literature review, design a research project, gather and analyze data, draw conclusions based on empirical evidence, and report results in a publication and presentation.

During the fall semester, McNair staff will work with you to identify a research mentor. You'll need to visit with the faculty in your department to determine who is doing research in your field of interest. Once you have identified a faculty mentor, inform the McNair Program staff so we can personally contact the mentor and meet with him or her to describe the program and requirements.


During the McNair Summer Research Experience, you'll conduct an original research project under the direction of a McNair research mentor. Research projects will vary based on your research interests. Work schedules and space will be determined by your research mentor.

In addition, scholars will gather every week for seminars and continued training. At the end of the McNair Summer Research Experience, scholars will present their research at a culminating research symposium. In preparation for this event, each scholar will be given specific guidelines and assistance in:

  • Developing a presentation that describes his/her research project
  • Writing a research paper based on his/her research project
  • Preparing an abstract of the research paper

Practice presentation sessions will be scheduled to provide scholars with feedback on their presentations.

Preparing for the McNair Summer Research Experience

Your summer research is conducted under the guidance/direction of a designated faculty member or researcher. The research may be an expansion of current research (for example, UCARE) or a new project, but must be a mutually agreed upon research project with your faculty mentor. Scholars must:

  • Identify a faculty mentor and pre-arrange to meet (at least twice) during the fall and/or spring semester.
  • Complete the Research Mentor/McNair Scholar Agreement Form. Scholars must read, sign, and return the original form to the McNair Program Office.
  • Complete the McNair Summer Research Proposal detailing your intended research project and submit with signatures from both the faculty/research mentor and the Scholar.
  • Complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training.
  • Complete CITI Training and an IRB protocol (if applicable).
  • Conduct a review of literature before summer research begins.

Faculty Research Mentor Responsibilities

The faculty or research mentor helps you select and design an appropriate project that can be completed in two academic semesters and supervises all research-related activities. Your mentor should direct you to the appropriate background literature and provide training and assistance to help you learn required techniques or procedures. In addition, your research mentor will be asked to review and critique a rough draft of the proposal, presentation abstract and final paper. Your research mentor should be available to offer support and advice for graduate school opportunities.

Fall and Spring Research: UCARE

Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE), funded by the Pepsi Endowment, supports opportunities for undergraduates to work alongside faculty members and directly participate in the campus's research or creative activities. Undergraduates may apply for UCARE awards to incorporate a research or creative experience into their undergraduate education.

Applicants must apply and work with a faculty mentor; the mentor may be either from your own department or another department, if appropriate.

The UCARE award is $2,400 for the academic year (working 10 hours per week) or $2,400 for summer (working 20 hours per week). To be considered for funding, students must submit a new proposal for each UCARE application cycle.

Second-Year Scholars are expected to participate in UCARE, following successful submission of a UCARE proposal during the first year of the McNair Program. The project may be an extension of or related to your McNair summer research project.