NSF GAIN Scholars Ph.D. student success program

"The strength of the wolf is the pack..."

Registration for our free doctoral student success preparation program is open. Space is limited in this valuable Ph.D. prep camp. Complete your application to become a GAIN Scholar today!

Program overview

The University of Nevada, Reno is proud to offer a new program - at no cost to students - designed to increase the retention and success of historically underrepresented groups in graduate programs. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, our GAIN Scholars program engages incoming Ph.D. students for two 3-week summer preparatory camps, as well as additional professional development, mentoring and social network support activities during their first two years of graduate school.

Students completing the GAIN Scholars program will learn how to code apps for citizen science research projects, how to design experiments and analyze data using the R programing language and how to create immersive virtual reality videos of their graduate experiences.

The program is provided at no cost and includes a free laptop as well as a tablet for communicating graduate experiences with family members.

The NSF GAIN Scholars program consists of the following modules:

  • Module 1: Skill Assessment and Individual Development Plans
  • Module 2: Family Support/Family Life Education (FLE)
  • Module 3: Smartphone App Development Boot Camp
  • Module 4: R-based Statistical Analysis
  • Module 5: Computational Tools for Big Data
  • Module 6: Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) and Outreach to Rural Communities

Read the NSF grant program description.

Who is eligible?

Incoming domestic, first-generation college students and students from historically underrepresented backgrounds who apply for fall 2020 and 2021 admission to a research-based PhD program are eligible. The program is designed for a very broad definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, including social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology and sociology), public health and STEM education and learning research.

Please note: The GAIN Scholars program is only available to domestic students. Applications from international students will not be considered. 

How do I apply?

You can apply as part of your general application to a Ph.D. graduate program at the University of Nevada, Reno or you can apply with a separate submission.

How will participants be selected?

Approximately 40 applicants meeting the eligibility requirements and accepting admission to a University of Nevada, Reno research-based Ph.D. program by April 15, 2021 will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants. We anticipate receiving approximately 80 applications, so qualified applicants will have a good chance of being selected to the program.


Contact the NSF GAIN Scholars program coordinator Loren Pietsch at lpietsch@unr.edu or (775) 784-6229.