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K-State Today

August 24, 2015



McNair Scholars complete summer research internship

By April Sopczak

On July 19, the McNair Scholars Program at K-State concluded its summer research internship with presentations by 12 scholars of their research to an audience of fellow scholars, program staff and alumni, faculty members, graduate students, friends and family members, and K-State administrators. The event took place in the Cottonwood Room at the K-State Student Union.

The scholars who presented were chosen for the program in fall 2014 and started working this past spring under the guidance of selected faculty mentors in their academic areas of interest. The summer research internship began on June 8 and involved intensive work with mentors as well as weekly meetings with McNair staff to monitor and support their progress. The scholars also spent four hours a week in a class preparing them to take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, a standardized test required for admittance to most graduate programs.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the Federal Trio Programs administered by the Department of Education and authorized by Congress to prepare academically talented undergraduates for success in graduate studies. To be eligible, students must either be low-income or first-generation college students, or a member of a group that is underrepresented in higher education. The goal of the program is to increase the number of people from these groups holding doctorates and serving in the ranks of faculty and researchers. The students receive a stipend to support their participation in the summer research.

The following 12 scholars presented their research:

Arlena Blum, Wakefield, presented "The Power of Support: The Role of Parental Attachment in Reducing Juvenile Delinquency." Blum is majoring in social work and was mentored by Don Kurtz.

Jose Covarrubias, Liberal, spoke about "Surface-tethered Nanoparticles on Tumor Homing Cells." Covarrubias is majoring in biochemistry and was mentored by Deryl Troyer.

Carolina Garcia, Liberal, is majoring in microbiology. She presented "Characterization of Adherence of Enterotoxigenic E. Coli (ETEC) to Human Intestinal Cell Lines." Garcia was mentored by Weiping Zhang.

Emmanuel Garcia, Liberal, was mentored by Brad Behnke. Garcia is majoring in kinesiology and presented "Tumor Host Tissue Vasoreactivity."

Zuleica Gerardo, Olathe, presented "Imagining Nature: How People of Color Experience the Great Outdoors." Gerardo is majoring in parks management and conservation and was mentored by Spencer Wood.

Lucas Gorentz, Alma, is majoring in mechanical and nuclear engineering and completed his second summer in the McNair program. He presented "Design and Construction of a Self-Balancing Unicycle Robot," which he conducted under the mentorship of Warren N. White.

Raymond Greer, George, Iowa, is majoring in both psychology and criminology. He presented "Mothering and Co-Parenting in Prison." Greer was mentored by Lisa Melander.

Ka’Juan Moore, Chicago, Illinois, spoke about "Mothering Behind Bars: The Role of Contact Maintenance Programs on the Mothering Identity of Incarcerated Women." Moore is majoring in criminology and was mentored by Lisa Melander.

Mayra Perez-Fajardo, Laredo, Texas, was mentored by Huyla Dogan. She is majoring in grain sciences and industry and presented "Function & Mechanism of Action of Soluble & Insoluble Fibers in Dough Systems."

Jennifer Peelen, Manhattan, presented "Benefits of Intergenerational Activities for Older Adults and Children." Peelen is majoring in family studies and gerontology and was co-mentored by Gayle Doll and Migette Kaup.

Matthew Reynolds, Topeka, is majoring in chemical engineering and was mentored by Placidus Amama. Reynolds presented "Kinetic Model of CVD Growth of Carbon-Nanotubes on Different Catalysts."

Carlos Tupaz, Wichita, spoke about "VisiBoole, A KSU HDL; Implementing Subdesigns and Unidirectional Language Translation," which is the research he conducted under the mentorship of John Devore. Tupaz is majoring in computer engineering.

One more scholar participated in the program will present at a later date. Loren Taylor, Kansas City, is majoring in family studies and conducted research under the mentorship of Amber Venuum.

The McNair program is currently recruiting new participants, which will continue until all opening are filled. Screening will begin Sept. 11. Eligible students with an interest in graduate studies are encouraged to apply. Faculty and staff who know of good candidates should refer them to the program and/or contact the McNair office.