Research Component

As soon as you are admitted to the McNair Program, you will select a research mentor and determine a research project, write a proposal, and develop the project throughout the academic year. Your research mentor will guide you through the research process and introduce you to procedures and professional behavior in the field. You'll also apply for UCARE funding. McNair Program Staff members are available to assist you in the development of your McNair and UCARE proposals. The following is a typical research schedule:

September, October, and November

  • Identify a faculty mentor
  • Identify a research topic
  • Complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

January, February, and March

  • Complete CITI certification (if applicable)
  • Complete an IRB protocol (if applicable)
  • Submit McNair Summer Research Proposal
  • Submit UCARE proposal

April and May

  • Begin Literature Review for MSRE

June and July

  • Conduct McNair Summer Research
  • Provide research progress updates
  • Complete research paper
  • Create research oral and poster presentation
  • Present research at the UNL McNair Research Colloquium


  • Present at a National McNair Research Symposium
  • Present poster at UNL Summer Research Symposium

September (2nd year of program)

  • Begin UCARE or REU 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, you'll need to visit with select faculty in your department to determine who is doing research in your field of interest. Once you have identified a faculty mentor, you'll select a research project and submit a research proposal.


During the McNair Summer Research Experience, you'll conduct an original research project under the direction of a McNair research mentor. 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 their research project
  • Writing a research paper based on their 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 of a 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 spring semesters.
  • Complete the Research Mentor–McNair Scholar Agreement Form. Scholars must complete, sign, and return the original form to the McNair Program coordinator.
  • Complete the McNair Summer Research Proposal detailing your intended research project and submit with signatures from both the faculty 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.

Academic Year Research: UCARE and REUs

Second-Year Scholars are expected to participate in the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) or other faculty-mentored research, following successful submission of a UCARE or REU research proposal during the first year of the McNair Program. The project may be an extension of or related to your McNair summer research project or a new research project.

UCARE, funded in part by gifts from the Pepsi Quasi Endowment and Union Bank & Trust, 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 from your 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.