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Source: Kathleen Greene, 785-532-5642,
Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
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News release prepared by: Kristin Hodges, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University undergraduate students aspiring to graduate studies conducted independent research projects this summer alongside experienced faculty researchers.

Jamie Parker, senior in psychology, Wamego, is in the process of collecting data on a psychology study examining applicant responses to employment interview questions. Parker is working with K-State's Lester Loschky, assistant professor of psychology, and Satoris Culbertson, assistant professor of psychology, through the McNair Scholars Program that prepares undergraduates for graduate study.

K-State students in the program are paired with K-State faculty in their field of interest for summer research projects. The students present their work at the end of the summer, and some continue their research projects into the fall semester, said Kathleen Greene, director of the McNair Scholars Program.

"The McNair Scholars program has been incredibly helpful for me," Parker said. "I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, and the McNair staff have assisted me through the entire process of applying. They help you prepare for the GRE, give advice on what to include in the graduate school application, and give insight into what graduate schools are looking for and how to plan to pay for them."

The McNair Scholars are in their undergraduate studies, but their projects have wide applications that vary from advances in cancer research to better assistance for special needs students.

Scholars and their projects include:

Emma Del Real, senior in biology, Dodge City, studied the role of modifications of a viral fibroblast growth factor on virulence. Her project adviser is Lorena Passarelli, associate professor of biology.

Christopher Juarez, senior in mathematics and statistics, Garden City, studied the different applications for statistical consulting and worked with a statistical design to find solutions to a research problem. His project adviser is Leigh Murray, professor of statistics.

Tai-Wen Ko, senior in electrical engineering, Hutchinson, studied small renewable energy lighting sources and built a solar lantern. His project adviser is Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Kathleen Rivers, senior in music education, Hutchinson, studied the transfer of competence from training to performance among teen camp counselors. Her project adviser is Gary Gerhard, professor of 4-H youth development.

Becky Steinert, senior in psychology, Hutchinson, studied people's perception of time and the influence of the presence of a clock to understand time-related stressors. Her project advisers are Fred Newton, director of counseling services, and Eun-Hee Kim, research analyst for counseling services.

Brittany Delaney, senior in communication sciences and disorders and pre-nursing, Junction City, studied the clinical measurement of voice and speech. Her project adviser is Linda Hoag, professor of family studies and human services.

Carmen Ellis, senior in elementary education, Kansas City, Kan., studied special needs students and what faculty can do to help the students be successful in higher education. Her project adviser is Judith Hughey, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs.

Jessica Ice, senior in anthropology, Kansas City, Kan., did a case study of the religious beliefs of pagan communities in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas. Her project adviser is Michael Wesch, assistant professor of anthropology.

Toni Owens, junior in social science, Kansas City, Kan., studied what female police officers said about entering law enforcement and the gender-based challenges involved. Her project adviser is Don Kurtz, assistant professor of social work.

Jesus Garcia, senior in premedicine and public health nutrition, Merriam, studied the body composition of military combatives participants to learn what nutrition would help their performance. His project adviser is Mark Haub, assistant professor of human nutrition.

Mary Ohmes, senior in communication sciences and disorders, Shawnee, studied interventions for impaired swallowing in infants. Her project adviser is Jane Garcia, associate professor of family studies and human services.

Adrian Carter, senior in accounting and finance, Topeka, studied the U.S. stock market valuation of the present compared to the past. His project adviser is Eric Higgins, professor of finance.

Natalie Jordan, sophomore in microbiology, Topeka, studied cancerous cells and the over-expression of the activating transcription factor 6. Her project adviser is Alexander Beeser, assistant professor of biology.

Samuel Lewis, senior in prelaw and political science, Houston, Texas, studied college students' perceptions of the criminal justice system. His project adviser is Craig Stapley, assistant professor of political science.