The Nevada GAIN Program

The Nevada GAIN Program is a one-year development and networking program made possible through the efforts of Executive Vice President and Provost Jeff Thompson. This ongoing supportive program was built on the success of the original, NSF-IGE funded, program known as the NSF GAIN (Graduate Acceleration through Innovation and Networking) Scholars program. The NSF program began in the summer of 2021 and followed a cohort of doctoral students through their first two years of graduate school while providing students with skill-building workshops, professional development and mentoring support. 

Support Nevada GAIN

Every dollar supports the retention and success of first-generation and underrepresented doctoral students.

Pennington Student Achievement Center


Nevada GAIN aims to increase the retention and success of first-generation and underrepresented students in doctoral programs. Underrepresentation has been attributed to inadequate student preparation, insufficient career guidance and lack of peer, family and community support. To address these challenges, a comprehensive and transferable skill-based approach to graduate education is needed and here is where the Nevada GAIN program comes to life. This program provides incoming doctoral students with a variety of skill-building workshops, professional development, mentoring and network support during their first year of graduate school, including a week-long summer intensive camp before the fall semester begins. 

Arturo Macias Franco"The GAIN program provided me with the opportunity to find a community in graduate school that would have otherwise been impossible to find. Finding a community and support system with similar life experiences and challenges is necessary and life-changing for ensuring the success of graduate students. It also helped me better understand the academic processes I had never heard about. I'd highly recommend everyone to apply!" -Arturo Macias Franco, Ph.D. student, Animal & Rangeland Science

Program description

The Nevada GAIN program is a one-year program designed to increase the retention and success of first-generation and/or underrepresented graduate students. The program starts before the fall semester begins with a week-long camp involving students and GAIN-associated faculty. Throughout the academic year, students will be engaged in several workshops that build upon what was learned in the summer camp. Nevada GAIN is a collaborative effort between educators and scientists from various Schools and Colleges across the University, making it a multidisciplinary program benefitting a broad range of students and their studies. 

GAIN Scholars from 20212021 class of GAIN Scholars and support faculty

What is included in the program?

  • Skill-building workshops, including writing, statistical analysis and computational tools
  • Doctoral program preparation workshops including topics such as navigation higher education, email etiquette, time management and more!
  • Family life education modules that involved students and family member(s)
  • Socials and networking events throughout the year
  • Professional development opportunities throughout the year
  • Food will be provided throughout the summer bootcamp
  • NEW iPad for every Nevada GAIN participant!

Who is eligible?

  • Incoming Fall 2024 students
  • Must be enrolled full-time in a doctoral program (9 credits or 6 credits if on an assistantship)
  • First-generation college students and/or from underrepresented backgrounds
  • Domestic, undocumented/DACA and international students
  • All disciplines are welcome

When is it?

  • Summer 2024 bootcamp: Wednesday, August 14 – Tuesday, August 20 (tentative schedule)
  • 2024 – 2025 Academic Year: 10 – 12 events, including workshops, socials and networking events throughout the academic year with faculty members and mentors

How (and when) to apply

The deadline to apply to Nevada GAIN for the 2024-2025 academic year is Friday, May 24, 2024. Spots are limited – Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to find support and community in your graduate school journey!

Apply to Nevada GAIN


Contact Loren Pietsch at or (775) 682-8005 if you have any questions about the program or eligibility requirements.