From Pepper Mueller, McNair Instructor & Advisor:
In March, over spring break week, 11 McNair Scholars and I attended the 23rd Annual University of Maryland National McNair Conference. UNC’s McNair Scholars were able to enjoy a full day of site seeing in Washington D.C. prior to the conference, visiting the Smithsonian Museum for African American Heritage and Culture and exploring the National Mall. Upon arrival in College Park, Maryland and the University of Maryland campus, students enjoyed many days of conference receptions and sessions where they met fellow McNair Scholars from all around the United States, heard nationally renowned speakers discuss their own TRIO and graduate school experiences, attended workshops on graduate school preparation and a graduate school fair and presented their own undergraduate research in oral and poster presentations. They even had the opportunity to enjoy a concert from jazz violinist and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, Dr. Chelsea Green! For many of our students, it was their first trip to Washington D.C. and Maryland and students described the conference as a transformative experience as they were able to meet other scholars, present their research and see and hear from first generation and underrepresented professors who have already navigated this graduate school journey and had a wealth of experience to share with our students!