Faculty Mentors

The McNair Scholars Program at UConn prepares talented and motivated first-generation, low-income college students and/or those from underrepresented populations for success as Ph.D. students. The role of the faculty mentor is the cornerstone of the McNair program. The wisdom and guidance of experienced faculty members are critical in helping these bright young scholars achieve their goal of earning a doctoral degree in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

The McNair Scholars Program is looking for faculty who have:

  • A keen interest in mentoring first-generation, low-income, and/or underrepresented students
  • A willingness to make a two-year commitment to the program
  • A flexible schedule that allows for regular contact with the student

The commitment is significant, but so are the rewards. Faculty mentors find satisfaction in working with and receiving research assistance from exceptional undergraduates, and in preparing a new generation of scholars and researchers in their chosen disciplines. Faculty mentors not only help to fulfill the McNair mission, but also contribute to the university’s mission of fostering the future richness and diversity of academia. They help to increase the number of doctoral degrees earned by members of currently underrepresented populations, enhancing the pipeline of future faculty members.

What Does a McNair Faculty Mentor Do?

Faculty mentors support McNair Scholars throughout their preparation for doctoral study. Each Scholar is paired with a faculty mentor who will guide the student in the following areas:


  • Work with the student on an original research project.
  • Introduce your Scholar to the nature and protocols of research.
  • Serve as a role model.
  • Provide advice on developing a research proposal as well as a plan for executing the research.
  • Offer assistance with writing a scholarly article suitable for publication.
  • Oversee preparation of oral presentations on the research for professional symposia.

Individual Academic Plan

Partner with McNair staff and your Scholar to develop an individual academic plan that culminates in acceptance to a Ph.D. program of study in a STEM field. That plan will encompass, but not be limited to:

  • Building academic skills (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Polishing professional skills (research, public speaking, networking)
  • Preparing to apply for graduate school (researching and visiting potential programs, GRE coaching, assembling a strong application, and securing financing)


  • Provide opportunities for the Scholar to network with professionals in the field.
  • Accompany the Scholar to professional conferences and symposia.
  • Introduce the Scholar to professional societies and networks.


  • Maintain regular contact with your Scholar.
  • Chart his or her progress in developing research skills, study skills, and other critical competencies.
  • Attend social, cultural, and scientific events with your Scholar.

To serve as a faculty mentor with the McNair Scholars Program, please complete the application form.

For more information, please contact Dr. Renee Gilberti at 860-486-5146, renee.gilberti@uconn.edu.