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Oklahoma State University Edmond Low Library

McNair Scholars celebrate successful Summer Research Institute

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

After a 10-week course at the inaugural McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute, a group of scholars at Oklahoma State University have reason to celebrate. 

The program ended July 25 with the Gallery of Engagement event, where the students presented their research to a panel of judges. The 10 students created posters highlighting research they did during the course, which challenged them to conduct an in-depth project under the guidance of a faculty member.

“This summer, I witnessed a certain level of grit and tenacity develop in each McNair Scholar as they pushed each other to accomplish their goals,” said program director Dr. Clyde C. Wilson Jr. “What started as 10 individuals who barely knew each other ended up as 10 individuals who have the potential to become lifelong friends connected by a common interest called research.”

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program) is a federal TRIO program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The TRIO programs are a group of educational opportunity programs created and governed by the Higher Education Act of 1965.

“The program serves first-generation college students who demonstrate financial need and are traditionally underrepresented in graduate education,” Wilson said.

TRIO includes eight academic programs that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

The federal McNair program was named after African American scientist Dr. Ronald E. McNair who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

The summer research institute at OSU was created in response to a request from OSU’s McNair scholars and faculty for more opportunities to maximize their research experience.

“Class sessions included essential information about literature reviews, research methodology, statistical analysis and communicating scholarship in written and verbal forms,” Wilson said. “Scholars received individualized support for their projects from their faculty mentor, McNair staff, and through incredible partnerships with the Oklahoma State University Writing Center and OSU Career Services.”

The summer research institute winners were Alexis Stephenson, who received a $250 research scholarship and Kaitlyn Potter, who won a $150 research scholarship. Both students also received full funding to present their research at the 2019 Baylor University McNair Research Conference.

Other scholars and their research areas are:

Shawn Ray — Testing Coiled Nylon Threads as Artificial Muscles for Exoskeletons

Shakeira Brown — Examining the Relationship Between Personality Disorders and Maladaptive Behaviors

Colton Parker­­ —The Relationship of Depressive Symptoms with Obesity and Weight Loss in American Indians/Native Americans: A Pilot Study

Sergio Mares  — Conservation of Calcium-Regulated Protein, CarP, Involved in Virulence, Among Clinical and Environmental Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Madison Stevens — Quantifying the shift baseline in breeding bird communities for Native American tribes relocated to Oklahoma

Cheyenne Daugherty — Interactions of Cryptococcus Neoformans with Human Airway Phagocytes.

Sky Triece — Early-Life Family Instability as a Risk for Depression in College: The Role of Optimism as a Protective Factor.

Alexis Stephenson — Rethinking the Trump Effect: A Sociological Analysis of Protest Signs at the Women’s Marches on DC in 2017.

Tinh Dang — Laying the Groundwork for Resilience and Success: How a Supportive Community Can Protect Against the Effects of Poverty.

Kaitlyn Potter — Sexual Consent Education: College Students’ Experiences Learning About Consent.

Outside the classroom, the McNair Scholars immersed themselves in different kinds of learning experiences. The group learned dining etiquette over dinner at the Rancher's Club, toured the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, volunteered at Our Daily Bread, participated in team building at the Boathouse in Oklahoma City and even supported a fellow McNair Scholar as she gained her United States citizenship.

“We are extremely pleased with the final product each scholar created during the program under the guidance of their faculty mentor,” Wilson said. “Each scholar learned a lot about themselves and elevated the program to attract new potential scholars in the future.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Harrison Hill | 405-744-5827 |

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