Participants of the Program are low-income, first-generation college students of junior or senior standing, who are from a group underrepresented at the doctoral level of targeted departments.
Aside from working on research from a grad perspective, the McNair Program surrounds students with mentors who have completed their doctorate.
"Since 2012, I have been working weekly with my mentor, Dr. Wendelin Hume," said Ward. "Words cannot explain what I have learned from watching her work and the many countless hours she spent working to help me complete every step of the research process."
Ward plans on graduating this spring with a degree in Criminal Justice, a field that his father and brother are actively involved with.
"It became the family profession. I took to it immediately after listening to my father and brother talk about it," said Ward.
Ward's journey at UND began when his brother took him on a tour of campus. After his tour, he knew UND was the right place for him.
"The education provided here has changed every aspect of my life," said Ward.
UND has provided him with the opportunity to study abroad in France, helping him to learn new languages, cultures and traditions. The professors are another aspect of UND that Ward has come to appreciate.
"The relationships I have built with these professors has been beneficial, because during every hardship that I have encountered, one of them has stepped in and made a difference," said Ward.
Looking back, the McNair Program and UND have provided Ward a chance to expand his horizons and partake in beneficial educational research opportunities.
"The most important thing I have been able to do is experience new and challenging ideas every day since I arrived and I would not change that for the world."
Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer