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K-State Today

April 24, 2018

K-State McNair Scholars honored at annual ceremony

Submitted by Maggie R Borders

Scholars and staff conclude the 21st annual MKN McNair Heartland Research Conference in September 2017.

The McNair Scholars Program hosted its annual Scholars Recognition Banquet on April 23 to celebrate the accomplishments of its current scholars and alumni who have achieved higher degrees. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, friends, and family gathered in the K-State Student Union Ballroom for the celebration.

Twelve McNair Scholars were honored for having completed their research internships in the summer of 2017:

• Tera Brandt, animal sciences and industry, Overland Park, mentored by Thomas Schermerhorn, professor of clinical sciences.
• Trevin Garcia, English, Liberal, mentored by Mary Kohn, associate professor of English.
• Gehrig Geissinger, biology, Abilene, mentored by Lorena Passarelli, professor of biology.
• Alejandra Gonzalez, modern languages, Liberal, mentored by Laura Valentín-Rivera, assistant professor of modern languages.
• Demond Handley, mathematics, Kansas City, mentored by Majid Jaberi-Douraki, assistant professor of mathematics.
• Kenyanna Jones, animal sciences and industry, Overland Park, mentored by Scott Beyer, associate professor of animal sciences and industry.
• Hannah Lusk, biochemistry, Lawrence, mentored by Ruth Welti, university distinguished professor of biology.
• Austin Magette, psychology, Dodge City, mentored by Jared Durtschi, associate professor of family studies and human services.
• Jennica Rogers, psychology, Manhattan, mentored by Heather Bailey, assistant professor of psychological sciences.
• Zaira Ruiz, sociology, Liberal, mentored by Alisa Garni, associate professor of sociology, anthropology and social work.
• Shelbey Taylor, animal sciences and industry, Kansas City, mentored by James Lattimer, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry.
• Coraima Yañez, life sciences, Tribune, mentored by Weiping Zhang, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.

Volunteer librarians who assisted scholars with conducting research were also recognized. These librarians include Melia Fritch, Adriana Gonzalez, Sara Kearns, Dan Ireton, Cindy Logan, Livia Olsen, Carol Sevin, Kendra Spahr and Alice Trussell.

The new cohort of McNair Scholars, who will be completing their research internships this summer, were also introduced with their volunteer faculty mentors.

One alumni received special recognition for fulfilling the ultimate goal of the program by earning a doctorate degree. James Bailey earned a doctorate in algorithms, combinaotrics, and optimization from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently completing postdoctoral research with engineering systems and design at Singapore University of Technology and Design. During his time in the McNair Program, Bailey was mentored by Todd Easton.
The program also recognized 10 K-State McNair alumni who recently earned graduate degrees:

  • Joshua Bonilla, master's degree in philosophy from Texas Tech University.
  • Johanna Diaz, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University.
  • Kathryn Douglass, master's degree in biological systems engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
  • Jesus Garcia, Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas.
  • Talus McCowan, master's degree in pharmacology from the University of North Dakota.
  • Lee Rathbun, master's degree in political science from SUNY Binghamton.
  • Perla Salazar, master's degree in education from Fort Hays State University.
  • Stevie St. Clair, master's degree in social work from the University of Kansas.
  • Derrick Till, master's degree in psychology from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
  • Graham Weaver, master's degree in history from Kansas State University.

The McNair Scholars Program is administrated by the U.S. Department of Education and authorized by Congress to prepare academically talented undergraduates for success in graduate studies. To be eligible, students must be low-income and in the first generation from their families to complete a bachelor’s degree, and/or from an ethnic group under-represented in graduate study. The goal of the program is to increase the number of people from these groups holding graduate degrees and serving in the ranks of faculty and researchers.

The McNair Scholars Program will begin recruiting new participants this summer. Eligible students with an interest in graduate study are encouraged to apply. Faculty and staff who know of potential candidates should refer them to the program and/or contact the McNair office. For more information, see the program website.

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