McNair Scholars honored for undergraduate research
June 27, 2003
KALAMAZOO -- Twenty-six undergraduate scholars were honored during Western Michigan University's Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholars Research Symposium and Trio Day Luncheon this spring.
The luncheon recognized 26 members of the McNair program, as well as dozens of additional students participating in WMU's other TRIO programs. The symposium focused on the research projects the McNair Scholars work on during the University's annual Summer Research Institute, an eight-week capstone learning experience held on campus in May and June.
This year's combined event featured 11 McNair scholars who already have graduated or will graduate in June.
Helping them celebrate their academic accomplishments was keynote speaker Dr. Arnold Mitchem, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education and a longtime advocate of equal educational opportunity for low-income and disabled Americans. Also speaking at the event were Dr. Daniel Litynski, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Diane K. Swartz, WMU vice president for student affairs.
The McNair program is one of seven congressionally funded educational opportunity programs that help U.S. students overcome class, social, academic and cultural barriers to higher education. Collectively known as TRIO programs, they require that more than two-thirds of participants come from low-income families, where neither parent graduated from college.
"Congress established the McNair program in 1989 as a way of increasing the enrollment of underrepresented student groups in doctoral programs," says Maxine Gilling, director of WMU's program, which is housed in the Division of Multicultural Affairs.
"We initiated our version of the program in 1999 to help WMU students with strong academic credentials hone their research skills in preparation for enrolling in graduate school here or at another university."
Gilling says McNair Scholars are introduced to research concepts
and activities as sophomores and juniors, then work closely with
faculty mentors in their final two years to design research projects,
conduct research, and present and/or publish their findings.
"The idea is to work closely with these students so that by the time they graduate from WMU, they'll be prepared to enter graduate school," Gilling says.
"Having a solid research background gives our undergraduate students a competitive edge when applying to graduate school and helps them develop key skills they'll need to be successful after they're admitted. It also enhances their marketability if they decide to enter the labor force right after obtaining their bachelor's degrees."
Jarrod Breeding of Kalamazoo, a biomedical sciences major and a Lee Honors College member graduated in April 2003. His research paper was on "Heavy Metal Induced Gene Expression in Pseudomonas Fluorescens." His faculty mentor was Dr. Silvia Rossbach, associate professor of biological sciences.
Lana Escamilla Carroll of Portage, Mich., a psychology major and a Lee Honors College member, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "A Qualitative Analysis of How Communication Relationships in the Work Place Predict Psychological Outcomes for Customer Service Providers." Her mentor was Dr. Wendy Zabava Ford, associate professor of communication.
Charisse Dennard of Southfield, Mich., a communication studies major, will graduate in June 2003. Her research was on "Small Talk With My Sister: An Auto Ethnographical Study on Difficult Dialogues Between Young African American and European American Women." Her faculty mentor was Dr. Mark Orbe, associate professor of communication.
Candace Dixon of Oak Park, Mich., a broadcast cable productions major, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "How African American Women Are Portrayed in Hollywood's Successful Films." Her faculty mentor was Dr. Paul Nwulu, assistant professor of communication.
Tonya R. Hernandez of Portage, Mich., a public relations major, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "Defining Integrated Marketing Communication From an Organizational Perspective." Her mentor was Dr. Kathleen Propp, associate professor of communication.
Kendra Minor of Muskegon, Mich., a marketing major as well as a psychology major, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "An Intervention to Decrease the Spread of Germs and Bacteria in a Student Recreation Facility." Her mentor was Dr. John Austin, associate professor of psychology.
Adeya Richmond of Minneapolis, a psychology major as well as a Spanish major and a Lee Honors College member, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "Exploring the Factors That Are Associated With the Discrepancy in Standardized Test Performance Between Black and White Students." Her mentors were Dr. Scott Gaynor, assistant professor of psychology at WMU; Dr. Helen Pratt, clinical director of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at Michigan State University; and Dr. Delores Walcott, assistant professor in the University Counseling and Testing Center at WMU.
Lacresha Roberts of Landing, Mich., a social work major, graduated in December 2002. Her research was on "Coping During the Waiting Period After HIV Testing." Her mentor was Dr. Earlie M. Washington, director of the School of Social Work.
Psychelia Smith of Benton Harbor, Mich., a marketing major, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "Equal Exposure or Access Denied?: Determining the Cause(s) of Performance Gaps Between Black and White College Seniors Preparing for Corporate America." Her mentor was Dr. Lawrence T. Potter Jr., assistant professor of Africana studies.
Renee Schank of Caro, Mich., an elementary education major, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "The Health Care and Laws for Children From Birth to Six Years of Age." Her mentor was Dr. Josephine Barry Davis, assistant professor of teaching, learning and leadership.
Jonelle Ulep of Marquette, Mich., an interpersonal communication major as well as a biomedical sciences major and a Lee Honors College member, graduated in April 2003. Her research was on "Medical Field Versus Social Sciences: Two Disparate Approaches to Doctor-Patient Communication." Her mentor was Dr. Peter Northouse, professor of communication.
Rosalinda Vasquez of Portage, Mich., an English major as well as a Spanish major, will graduate in June 2003. Her research was on "Ancestors and Images." Her mentor was Dr. Gwen Tarbox, assistant professor of English.
Ter'rece Walker of Calendonia, Mich., an organizational communication major, graduated in December 2002. Her research was on "Powerful vs. Powerless Language: How it is Measured." Her mentor was Dr. Kathleen Propp, associate professor of communication.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org