WMU News

Journal for undergraduate researchers debuts

April 1, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has published a new journal that turns the spotlight on some of its promising undergraduate researchers.

The "McNair Research Journal," printed in February, features the work of five students who have been participating in WMU's Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholars Program. These scholars, along with their faculty mentors, were recognized at a March 19 event announcing the publication's inaugural issue.

"All of the articles published in the journal were submitted to rigorous and critical peer reviews," says Maxine R. Gilling, WMU's McNair program director and editor of the journal. "They meet the standards of quality scholarship and represent the culmination of an extraordinary effort on the part of budding undergraduate researchers."

The following students were selected to have their work featured in the first McNair Research Journal.

Kendra Allison of Detroit, a speech pathology major who graduated in December, presented her research on "The Relationship Between Ebonics, Language Policy and Literacy." Her faculty mentor was Dr. Yvette D. Hyter, assistant professor of speech pathology.

Bernard Brown of Plainwell, Mich., a secondary education major and a Lee Honors College member who will graduate in April, presented his research on "The Need for Standardization of Teaching Methods for Employability Skills Within Career and Technical Education." His faculty mentor is Dr. Richard W. Zinser, associate professor of family and consumer sciences.

Dior Cisse of New York, an economics major who will graduate in April, presented her research on "The Economic Circumstances of Single Women: The Importance of Marital History." Her faculty mentor is Dr. Jean Kimmel, associate professor of economics.

Vaughn Love of Grand Rapids, Mich., a history and Spanish major who will graduate in June, presented her research on "Young People and the Anti-Apartheid Movement: Youth and Student Organizations During the 1970s and 1980s in South Africa." Her faculty mentor is Dr. Bruce M. Haight, professor of history.

Elizabeth Weiss-DeBoer of Lawton, Mich., a biology major and Lee Honors College member who will graduate in June, presented her research on "The Potential Role of the P13K/Akt Pathway in Abnormal Fibrosarcoma Cell Growth." Her faculty mentor is Dr. David S. Reinhold, associate professor of chemistry.

The McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholars Program was established by Congress in 1989 to increase the enrollment of underrepresented student groups in doctoral programs. It is named in honor of astronaut Ronald McNair, a noted expert in laser physics with a doctoral degree from MIT who died in the 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The McNair program is part of a group of educational opportunity programs, known as the Federal TRIO Programs, that helps students with disadvantaged backgrounds progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to college. Six of these programs, including McNair, provide outreach and support for students with disabilities and students from low-income families in which neither parent graduated from college.

WMU began its version of the McNair program in 1999. It is housed in the Division of Multicultural Affairs and funded through federal grants, with support from the University's degree-granting colleges.

"Our program focuses on students with strong academic credentials who want to hone their research skills in preparation for enrolling in graduate school here or at another university," Gilling says. "We introduce the students to research concepts and activities in their sophomore and junior years. Then in their final two years, faculty mentors work closely with the students to design research projects, conduct research and report findings."

The McNair Research Journal is a new option for reporting those findings, notes Dr. William R. Wiener, dean of WMU's Graduate College and one of the journal's four editorial board members.

"This is the first peer-reviewed publication for all of the authors contained in the inaugural issue," Wiener says. "We intend it to be one of many to follow, and in future years, hope that McNair Scholars from other programs in Michigan will submit their manuscripts for review and possible publication."

The journal was designed by Tammy M. Boneburg, a graphic designer in WMU's Office of University Relations, and printed by the Signature Printing Co. in Plainwell, Mich. Funds to produce the 109-page, 6" by 9" bound book came from WMU's Graduate College and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education-Federal TRIO programs.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the journal, contact Maxine Gilling at (269) 387-3391 or <maxine.gilling@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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