This summer I had the privilege of participating in the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program. This program is meant to prepare undergraduate students from socioeconomically disadvantage or underrepresented backgrounds in a particular field for graduate education. Through the program I was able to conduct my own research, build my resume, and broaden my network all in the span of an eight-week intensive program. The program paid for our on campus housing and food, and allocated a stipend for each scholar.
One of the most impressive parts of the program was attending the 17th Annual Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference offered the opportunity for students to interact with graduate school representatives, graduate faculty, and other McNair scholars. Moreover, it provided an open forum to discuss various issues on an intellectual level. Through this conference I gained new resources, cultivated new friendships, established communication with academic staff from different universities, and enjoyed the beautiful city of Atlanta.
Participating in this program is a gratifying and fulfilling experience that I would recommend to any Boston College undergraduate student, regardless of his/her major. I chose to do my research on the attitudes of members the Jamaican community on mental health and treatment adherence. Although challenging, the project was one that brought me great satisfaction. Knowing that I was able to contribute research data on this issue was rewarding. In the end, my fellow McNair scholars and I were able to present our findings to our friends, families, and the Boston College community at the annual McNair Symposium. The program could not have ended on a more fulfilling note.