Dr. Micheal Callaway entered the TRIO McNair Program at Eastern Washington University in the summer after his sophomore year, in 1998. He completed a second summer of McNair research in 1999 and worked for the program teaching GRE preparation in the summer of 2000.
In his own words: “I feel very fortunate. I became aware of the McNair Program by accident. Back in the late 90s the McNair Program was located across the hall from the Academic Success Center (ASC), which housed TRIO Student Support Services. One of the advisers in the ASC suggested that I check out McNair. I had an hour to kill before my next class, so I walked across the hall. Those were five of the most important steps in my life. Up until that point, I didn’t have any life plans. I was in college because my parents told me that I had to go. They both had GEDs and couldn’t give me any insights into what the higher education landscape looked like. They just knew that I needed a degree to be successful. The McNair Program put me on track for success. I conducted research under the guidance of tenured faculty in the English department and presented at regional and national conferences.
The TRIO McNair Program even coordinated meetings with graduate schools on the trips to conferences. Meetings with faculty from other graduate programs were invaluable. From those experiences, I realized that my work with McNair set me apart from other undergraduates. Coming from the background that I did, it was easy for me to discount my own achievements. I had conducted research, “so what?” I thought that since my McNair faculty mentors were also my teachers that they praised my work because they liked me. The validation from scholars who didn’t know me helped me see the value of my own work. My McNair advisers didn’t praise my work because they liked me; they saw promise in my work and wanted to support me as I grew into a scholar. Those experiences also taught me not to doubt my ability to make meaningful contributions to my field of study. Most of all, I realized that graduate school was within my reach. I never would have completed a doctorate degree, published articles or published a book if not for the program.”