West Virginia University
McNair Scholars Newsletter
SUMMER 2014 VOLUME 15, ISSUE 2
McNair Scholars Program Welcomes 2014 Scholars
2014 Scholar Major Faculty Mentor
J.C. Abdallah Communications Studies Dr. Nick Bowman
Ellen Aguilera Chemistry Dr. Michael Shi
Brandon Bowman Business Management & Finance Dr. Michael Walsh
Jordan Drew Biometric Systems Dr. Jeremy Dawson
Chibuzor Ejimofor Biochemistry Dr. Letha Sooter
Cecily Flight International Studies Dr. Stratford Douglas
Kelsey Flinn Agriculture and Extension Education Dr. Deborah Boone
Jacqueline Fowler Criminology Dr. Jesse Wozniak
James Hartnett II Sport & Exercise Psychology Dr. Sam Zizzi
Catherine Hefner Forensic & Investigative Science Dr. Keith Morris
Brandy Ledesma Social Work Dr. Natalie J. Shook
Ally Makono Biology Dr. Andrew Young
Candice McLaughlin Anthropology Dr. Daniel Renfrew
Joi Newberne Sport & Exercise Psychology Dr. Aaron Metzger
Allie Nwosu Psychology Dr. Amy Fiske
Donnique Sherman Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering Dr. Gregory Thompson
Chelsea Slade Criminology Dr. Rachel Stein
Isaiah Taylor Psychology Dr. Natalie J. Shook
Rachael Taylor Biology Dr. Steven Kinsey
Leigh Ann Wilkins Economics & Psychology Dr. Joshua Hall
Back Row (L to R): Cather ine Hefner , Chibuzor Ejimofor , Jordan Drew, Isaiah Taylor , James Har tnett II.
Middle Row (L to R): Cecily Flight, Chelsea Slade, Brandy Ledesma, Brandon Bowman, Ellen Aguilera, Allie
Nwosu, Jacqueline Fowler, JC Abdallah, Leigh Ann Wilkins, Joi Newberne, Ally Makono.
Front Row (L to R): Candice McLaughlin, Rachael Taylor , Kelsey Flinn, Donnique Sher man.
2013 McNair Scholars Symposium
In April of 2014, the 2013 McNair Scholars cohort held a spring symposium in the Vandalia Lounge of the
Mountainlair at WVU. Students demonstrated their research through poster presentations, which was open to
the public. Faculty mentors, students, and even WVU President E. Gordon Gee stopped in to learn more
about what McNair Scholars have to offer the future of academia and research.
Top left: Kabir Barker & Faculty mentor , Dr . Aaron Metzger . Bottom left:
Adam Betman presents research to Dr. William Beasley, Associate Dean of Uni-
Above: Jordan Lovejoy with WVU President E. Gordon Gee in front of
her research poster titled, “Speaking with the Silenced: Unquiet Ecologies in
the Appalachian Writings of Denise Giardina.” Jordan received the 2014 Udall
Scholarship, given to only 50 students nationwide who demonstrate com-
mitment to careers in the areas of environment, tribal policy, and Native
American health care.
Studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico is
one of my most treasured and valuable
college and life experiences. Traveling
the world is a great way to discover your
role in it.
- Jordan Lovejoy, above, in Mexico
Scholars Cecily Flight, Jordan Lovejoy, and Kiersten Woods share their reflections from studying abroad!
Traveling to Europe was a truly life-changing
experience. I learned to become a better com-
municator with all types of people from differ-
ent cultures. Those people also touched my
life by their openness to accept
and befriend me.
- Cecily Flight, above, in Frankfurt, Germany
My trip to Beijing taught me something new
every day about myself, others, and the
world. There are always some things people
can't learn until they experience them.
- Kiersten Woods, below, in China
Congrats to 2014 May Graduates!
Congratulations to all the McNair Scholars who graduated this past May. At the graduation luncheon, students were
encouraged to pursue their doctorates by Dr. Jonathan Young, a 2003 McNair Scholar, who received his Ph.D. from the
WVU Political Science program in May. Here are our graduates’ first steps upon graduation from WVU:
Scholar Graduate School
Solomon Adu WVU master’s program in Mathematics
Adam Carte Harvard University Systems Biology Ph.D. program
Brittany Bailey University of Florida Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program
Sharrell Barnes University of Kentucky Communication Science and Disorders master’s program
Adam Betman American University Public Policy master’s program
Amanda Harker University of Georgia Agriculture and Applied Economics M.A./Ph.D. program
Lillian Hill Pennsylvania State University Ph.D. program in Ecology
Rachel James University of Texas in Austin Civil Engineering Ph.D. program
Roger Jefferys WVU master’s program in Forensic and Investigative Science
Jasmine Koech The College of William and Mary master’s program in Psychology
Michael Powell Purdue University Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program
Stephanie Michelle Watson WVU master’s program in Educational Psychology
Not pictured are Dipendra Bhandari and Whitney Garton.
Farewell and Best Wishes!
The McNair staff and scholars would
like to bid a fond farewell to Dr. Sudik-
sha Joshi and Hellen Nditsi, our pro-
gram coordinator and graduate assis-
tant. Dr. Joshi (pictured right) earned
her Ph.D. at WVU in May, 2014 in
Natural Resource Economics. Hellen
(2010 Scholar) completed her Master’s
in Public Administration at WVU. We
wish Dr. Joshi and Hellen Nditsi the
best of luck in the future and thank
them greatly for all their efforts and
commitment to the McNair program
Highlights from the 2014 Summer Research Internship
In addition to the academic work during the Summer Research Internship, there are many opportunities for stu-
dents to bond with their peers, gain insight from faculty, and have some fun. We want to thank Dr. Julie Pat-
rick for her 10 years of teaching Research Methods! Dr. Sudiksha Joshi and graduate student mentors—Nicole
Fuller, Amanda Harker, and Michelle McAlarnen—spent countless hours helping scholars with their proposals
and presentations. Scholars also benefited from several speakers: Gabe Tapia (GRE-Prep), Steve Riffon
(Finances), Amy Cyphert (ASPIRE), and Drs. Stueckle, Metzger, and Hall (advice about graduate school).
Scholars also visited Penn State and met with faculty members there. The internship culminated in a research
symposium during which scholars presented their research proposals to peers and faculty mentors. Here are
some of the highlights from this summer!
Top: Faculty share their insights about graduate school; Right:
Enjoying a classic cook-out. Left side: James Hartnett, Brandon Bow-
man, JC Abdallah, and Chelsea Slade. Right side: Jordan Drew.
Top: Dr. Patr ick receives her 10-year award for service; Center: Gabe Tapia
reviews GRE problems; Right: Isaiah Taylor explains achievement gaps.
Thank You to All Faculty Mentors!
Every year, professors from a variety of fields
lend their time, expertise, and dedication as Fac-
ulty Mentors to foster academic achievement in
We are grateful for your time and service!
Faculty mentors at the research symposium. R: Men-
tor Dr. Jesse Wozniak & Scholar Jacqueline Fowler;
L: Mentor Dr . Gregory Thompson & Scholar
2014 SUNY Buffalo McNair Research Conference
From July 23-26th, McNair scholars participated in the SUNY-Buffalo National McNair Research Confer-
ence. It was a great opportunity to listen to inspirational speakers about their own McNair experiences,
learn about fellow scholars’ research, tour campus, and visit Niagara Falls. Scholars’ reflections on their
experience are also shared below.
To say that I’m thankful that I attended this conference
would be a complete understatement.
I have gained so much knowledge and experience that
cannot simply be taught to a person.
My experience at the conference
was eye-opening and beyond
I learned how to stay focused…
My future as an academic
researcher has just begun.
Congrats to our alumni who are continuing their education and completing their degrees! The years listed after each
Scholar refer to cohort years, not WVU graduation date.
Alexandra Castillo (‘09) received her Master ’s of International Relations from The Ohio State University in
Joy Cox (‘11) completed her Master ’s in Communication from University of Missouri-Columbia. She will begin
her Ph.D. in Communication at Rutgers University.
Mikhael King (‘11) graduated in Apr il 2014 with a Master’s of Public and International Affair s from the Grad-
uate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at University of Pittsburgh.
Taylor Mikalik (‘09) graduated May 2014 with dual Masters