The goal of this paper is to introduce the relationship, teaching techniques, research experience, and critical thinking interactions between two Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) McNair mentors and their meteorology students to ensure the students' continued academic success and path to graduate school. The underrepresented students are often those with limited resources; however encouraging critical thinking and undergraduate research experience is an effective tool for engaging them in applied meteorology. How do we help underrepresented meteorology students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, help their learning, improve their learning strategies, and guide them toward a successful graduate school path? What skills are particularly important in developing a solid undergraduate foundation in meteorology? How can these skills be taught effectively? What are the obstacles the McNair scholars have to overcome? Some students are under-prepared in math or have math phobias; others are learning English as they are learning the complex vocabulary of meteorology, or arrive in the classroom with communication skills that are not fully developed. We discuss our experiences as part of the ERAU McNair Scholars Program and as Department of Meteorology faculty.