LAWRENCE — Twenty University of Kansas TRIO McNair Scholars presented their summer research projects at the McNair Research Symposium on July 24 at the Kansas Union. Since 2003, the annual program has hosted a total of 240 student presentations.
The TRIO McNair Scholars program, established at KU in 1992, is part of the Achievement & Assessment Institute’s Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) and provides low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students with the necessary skills, resources and support to prepare and earn placement in graduate programs to pursue doctoral degrees.
Research in the 2015 symposium cohort addressed topics in theatre, neuroscience, psychology, microbiology, environmental sciences, social welfare, physical education, history, political sciences and public administration, journalism and student affairs.
“The symposium provides students opportunities to gain valuable skills in research communication by presenting their summer research projects to a broad audience, including KU faculty, staff, colleagues and family,” said TRIO McNair Scholars Program Director Mulu Negash. “The symposium supports McNair’s mission to make students competitive candidates for doctoral study and also supports KU’s Bold Aspirations strategic initiative by cultivating and nurturing intellectual and scholarly engagement for undergraduate students.”
The TRIO McNair Research Symposium is the culmination of the McNair Scholars Program’s annual paid Summer Research Internship (SRI). During the SRI, students spent the last two months working on independent research projects, attending GRE and graduate application courses, and participating in weekly colloquia while developing skills in communication, networking, professional development and research methodology.
The 2015 SRI participating McNair Scholars:
Gabriel Alaniz, Overland Park junior. Faculty mentor: Nicole Hodges Persley. Alaniz is a theatre major with research interests in the various forms of multicultural theatre. Alanz completed a case study of the Kansas City regional theaters to investigate audience diversity.
Cornelius Baker, Wichita junior. Faculty mentor: Steven Illardi. Baker is a behavioral-neuroscience major. Baker examined the effects of race and ethnicity on the diagnosis of clinical depression.
Max Bearce, Johnson City. Faculty Mentor: Ludwin Molina. Bearce graduated May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Bearce’s research project was an extension of his 2014 SRI project investigating the relationship between collective identity and guilt, group attitudes and group relevant action when white and Japanese American participants recollect the history of Japanese interment in the U.S.
Samantha Beauchamp, Kansas City, Kansas, junior. Faculty Mentor: Matthew Buechner. Beauchamp is a microbiology major. Beauchamp examined the EXC-7 mRNA binding protein in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to attain a better understanding of the homologous HuR protein that is overexpressed in many human cancers.
Elizabeth Burney, Louisville, Kentucky, sophomore. Faculty Mentors: Paul Stock and Robert Antonio. Burney is an environmental-science major. Burney researched the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of Kansas food deserts and oases.
Trinity Carpenter, Richmond junior. Faculty Mentor: Andrew Zinn. Carpenter is a social-welfare major. Carpenter investigated the experience of incarcerated mothers who have lost their parental rights as a result of the Adopt and Safe Families Act.
Jacob Chamberlin, Wichita junior. Faculty Mentor: Mary Fry. Chamberlin is a physical education major. Chamberlin examined the effects of motivational climate on athletes’ motivation to participate in offseason training programs.
Alyssa Cole, Garden City senior. Faculty Mentor: Clarence Lang. Cole graduated in May 2015 with a double-major in the fields of history and African and African-American studies. She examined the role of African-American women in the Vietnam War. Cole will begin working toward her masters’ degree in African and African-American studies at KU in fall 2015.
Michael Cox, Augusta sophomore. Faculty Mentor: Donald Haider-Markel. Cox is a political science major. Cox researched the potential for discrimination against individuals of the LGBTQ community in Kansas long-term care facilities.
Darinka Delatorre-Castillo, Guadalajara, Mexico, junior. Faculty Mentor: Robert Ward. Delatorre-Castillo is a neurobiology major. She investigated the proteins affecting gene expression of the trachea and insulin-signaling pathway of flies (i.e., Drosophila melanogaster).
Jeffery Durbin, Fort Scott senior. Faculty Mentor: Christopher Ramey. Durbin is majoring in behavioral neurosciences with an emphasis in language processing. His SRI project, “Are We Our Brain?,” examined the relationship between neurocentrism and determinism.
Amr El-Afifi, Kansas City, Missouri, sophomore. Faculty Mentor: Mike Wuthrich. El-Afifi is a dual major in political science and journalism. El-Afifi’s SRI project examined the change in public opinion in regards to the legitimacy of Egypt’s state-enacted violence from 2008-2014.
Nicole Humphrey, Lawrence senior. Faculty Mentor: Shannon Portillo. Humphrey is a double-major in political science and public administration. To examine the prioritization of social equity in public-administration practices, Humphrey interviewed city administrators from multiple municipalities in Kansas and KU students in the Masters of Public Administration program.
Dalton Leprich, Lenexa sophomore. Faculty Mentor: Brendan Mattingly. Leprich is a microbiology major. Leprich’s SRI project examined the human oral microbiome and their influence on human oral cavities.
Kierstin McMichael, Wichita junior. Faculty Mentor: David Roediger. McMichael is an English major with minors in sociology and history. McMichael examined the ethical issues regarding taking photos to increase the appearance of campus diversity in KU admissions materials.
Michael Miller, Kansas City, Missouri, sophomore. Faculty Mentor: Tamara Baker. Miller is a psychology major. Miller investigated the influence of discrimination, identity and traditional views of masculinity on African-American male self-identity.
Joy Mosier-Dubinsky, Pittsburgh junior. Faculty Mentor: Alexander Hall. Mosier-Dubinsky is a history major. Mosier-Dubinsky examined women of antiquity through the work of Plutarch in order to gain a better understanding of gender and female roles of antiquity.
Kristina Padilla, Denver junior. Faculty Mentor: Lisa McLendon. Padilla is a journalism major with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies. Padilla gathered personal narratives of female motorcyclists to share women’s perspectives on the joys of riding, gender norms for riders and embodiment.
Allora Richey, Augusta senior. Faculty Mentor: Paula Fite. Richey graduated in May 2015 with degrees in psychology and human biology. Richey examined the influence of hostile attribution bias on the relationship between childhood maltreatment and aggression.
Ian Turnbow, Topeka sophomore. Faculty Mentor: Tamara Baker. Turnbow is a psychology major. Turnbow investigated the relationship between alcohol abuse and anxiety disorders in Hispanic males at KU.
More on the program
The McNair Scholars Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the TRIO programs and was established at KU in October 1992. It is one of 151 Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Programs nationwide. By preparing students for doctoral study from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, the program is designed to help ensure that the next generation of American faculty members represents the diversity of our society at large.