McNair Scholars Program reaching new heights

For Cohort 2 graduating seniors, going to the graduate or professional level is the next logical step. For continuing juniors and seniors, their next step is participating in other research and internship opportunities while preparing for graduate school admissions in fall 2011.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program) completed its second year at St. Thomas with many success stories. Perhaps the most important statistic for Cohort 2 is a 100 percent retention rate in full-program participation. The McNair Scholars Program’s primary purpose is to increase the number of low-income first-generation college students and students from groups underrepresented in graduate education who go on to graduate school for a Ph.D.

Beginning fall 2010, McNair Scholars will enter graduate programs across the United States.

Students graduating and moving into these programs include:

  • Aquanette Early (Cohort 1) has accepted admission with funding into the MSW Program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
  • Amy Westmoreland (Cohort 1) has accepted admission with funding into the joint Psychology/MSW Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Sophia Benick (Cohort 2) has been admitted to Northwestern Health Sciences University into the Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program in Minnesota.
  • Lauren Miller (Cohort 2) has accepted admission with funding into the MA Program in American Studies at Purdue University.

Two McNair Scholars are awaiting final decisions on their acceptance into professional schools:

  • Aubrey Strenger (Cohort 1) is waiting on confirmation from law schools.
  • Jennifer Dada-Samuel (Cohort 2) is waiting on confirmation from pharmacy schools.

During summer 2010, a number of McNair Scholars from Cohort 2 have been accepted into competitive internships that will allow them to continue developing as researchers and/or professionals in their respective fields of study.

These students are:

  • Ariel Gittens will continue to work with Dr. Kyle Zimmer on their research looking at stable isotopes to assess food-web interactions in shallow lake ecosystems in Minnesota. The team was awarded a research grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • Mohamed Hussein will continue his research in Dr. Glenn Sherer’s lab on studying tight junctions  in the embryonic life of Japanese quail.
  • Melvina Ketter will continue her research in Dr. Marcy Myer’s (St. Catherine University) lab on thermoregulation effects on temperature, wind speed and skin-to-skin contact.
  • Pauleen Le has accepted an internship with CNN Network Booking this summer in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Demar Lewis has accepted an internship with Mid-American Financial Group in Minnetonka, Minn.
  • William Montes has accepted a dental internship with a major dental practice in the Twin Cities.
  • Isaac Palma-Zamora has accepted a medical internship with the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in south Minneapolis.

The McNair Scholars Program requires students to identify a national McNair conference or discipline-specific conference where they could present their research. Thanks to funding from the McNairScholarsProgram and the Undergraduate Research and Collaborative Scholarship Travel Grant Program (administered by Dr. David Steele in UST’s Grants and Research Office), several Cohort 2 Scholars were funded to present their research.

They are:

  • Sophia Benick presented “Acupuncture Activation of Pain Pathways: Merging Eastern and Western Medicine” at the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Chicago, Ill.
  • Sahr Brima presented “The Death of Participatory Democracy: The Role of Neoliberal Reforms on Civil Society in Developing Nations” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Jennifer Dada-Samuel presented “Latitude Change on Sleep Patterns and Mood in Minnesota Natives and Recent Migrants from Tropic Regions at the University of St. Thomas” at the Georgia Society of Health System Pharmacists conference in Savanna, Ga.
  • Ariel Gittens presented “Using Stable Isotopes to Assess Food-Web Interactions Among Bullheads, Fathead Minnows and Common Carp in Shallow Lake Ecosystems in Minnesota” at the University of California-Berkeley’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Mohamed Hussein presented “Initial Appearance of Tight Junctions in the Embryonic Liver of Japanese Quail: An Immunohistochemical Study” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Melvina Ketter presented “Thermoregulation in Early Human Infants: Effect of Temperature, Wind Speed and Skin-to-Skin Contact” at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Pauleen Le presented “TV News Goes Online: How the Reporting Practices and Ethical Standards of Television News Changes When Stations Report for Both Newscast and the Web” at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Demar Lewis presented “Seeking for Mode of Entry into China: An Analysis of the Strategies Reported by U.S. Publicly Traded Firms” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Erin McDonald presented “Celtic Depictions: How Caesar’s Biases Affect Primary Source Credibility” at Oklahoma State University’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Lauren Miller presented “The Racial Identity Development of Black Students Attending the University of St. Thomas” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • William Montes presented “Creation of a Novel G-Quadruplex Network Utilizing the Biotin-Streptavidic-Complex and Gold Nanoparticles” at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, Calif.
  • Sean Navin presented “Impulsivity for Intravenous Cocaine and Food Measured by a Go/No-go Task in Adolescent and Adult Rats” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Isaac Palma-Zamora presented “Monitoring the Uptake of Gentamicin by Hair Cells in the Inner Ear of the Zebrafish during Embryonic Development Using TSLIM” at the University of North Texas’ McNair Scholars Conference.
  • Bereket Worku presented “The New Age of Multicultural Marketing: East African Consumer Behavior in America” at the University of Maryland-College Park’s McNair Scholars Conference.

These success stories are only the tip of the iceberg. All McNair Scholars have been transformed by the awesome intellectual and professional development opportunities they’ve been engaged with this past year. Today, Thursday, April 29, scholars and faculty mentors from Cohort 2 will be celebrated with an end-of-year celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Rogge-Leyden Room, Murray-Herrick Campus Center. Recognitions and awards will be presented during the ceremony.

We continue to be excited about the future progress of all McNair Scholars as we welcome Cohort 3 in summer 2010.

Students selected are all from St. Thomas:

  • Breanna Alston
  • Adam Baker
  • Sarah Cameron
  • Abdikarin Gure
  • Kate Hallock
  • David Irwin
  • Yusuf Kalif
  • Foua Khang
  • Sally Mahmoud
  • Sandra Moran
  • James Noyola
  • Robin Willenbring
  • Jenny Xiong