I have always been a huge fan of McNair - both the program and the astronaut (please watch that linked video). They are so relentlessly devoted to championing young scholars whose talent might otherwise not be fully expressed.
I have been fortunate to work with the McNair Scholars program at USD for a few years now, and through that have been lucky to work with some bright, driven, and delightful students. We have published papers together, worked on their science skills (and my mentoring skills) together, and enjoyed countless hours in the field, the lab, and even the zoo (ok, that last was just for fun, not work).
I am proud to say I was awarded the McNair Faculty Mentor of the Year award at USD, but I also feel the need to be 100% honest - that award (and the cool trophy) was made possible by having these great students, who then went to the trouble of nominating me. It is easy to look like a great mentor when your students are amazing.
As I said when I received the award, I am not being humble - heck, NOBODY loves me more than I love me - but this is another one of those cases where the laurels fall to the wrong person. If anyone should be getting an award, it is people like Ramiro Frausto, Director of the program at USD, who makes it easy for me to do my part, or the students with whom I worked, because I mostly just stayed out of their way and let them flourish!
I regret that I never had the chance to meet Ronald McNair, but I am thrilled that I get the opportunity to add a tiny bit to his legacy of great work.