Matthew Richards '12 is Living the McNair Dream
Living the McNair Dream
When Matthew Richards ’12 applied to the McNair program as a freshman, he wasn’t convinced that graduate school would be in his future. Among his reasons: he wasn’t sure where he’d get the money for tuition, and he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to handle it academically.
Three years later, Richards, who received a B.S. in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport studies, plans to earn a master’s degree in exercise science with emphasis in sport performance at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. He says the McNair program changed his view of graduate school, showing him that it could be tailored to his interests. He also received a McNair Fellowship that, along with a graduate assistantship, will provide full financial support while he pursues his degree. Perhaps most important, his success in the McNair program helped him realize that he could do well in graduate school.
“I tell my friends that I’m living the McNair dream — going through the McNair program, completing it, and getting full funding,” Richards says.
Richards was born and raised in Worcester, Mass., after his parents emigrated from Jamaica with his older sister. “My parents moved to the States for a better life and more opportunities,” he says.
His father has no post-secondary education; his mother took a few courses at a community college but did not earn a degree.
For his research project, Richards, a four-year intramural basketball player at UNH, naturally turned to his longtime passion, sports. Working with Associate Professor of Kinesiology Karen Collins, Richards examined whether high school coaches who took part in a coaching seminar reported improved confidence in their abilities. “Conducting research on high school coaches was dear to me because, like many students I talk to, I did not have the greatest high school coach experience.”
Ultimately, the study revealed no significant change after the seminar, most likely because of a small sample size. However, the experience taught Richards how to read and critique scholarly articles, how to write for an academic audience, and how to present his work to others, as he did in April at a McNair symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
And this spring, he got published for the first time when his article about the coaching study appeared in Inquiry, UNH’s online undergraduate research journal. “I never dreamed for one second that was something I could do,” he says.
Originally published by: