Degree(s): Engineering Physics, Physics
Undergraduate Institution: North Carolina A&T University (HBCU)
Graduate Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Photo Credit: NASA
Dr. Ronald McNair was an American astronaut who was the second Black astronaut to reach space in 1984. In 1986, he was a mission specialist abord the Space Shuttle Challenger when it exploded shortly after takeoff, killing everyone aboard. An accomplished saxophonist, Dr. McNair was set to record the first original music composition in space during the Challenger mission. The McNair Scholars Program (which helps to prepare historically disenfranchised students to pursue Ph.D.’s) was named in his honor.