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Fifteen McNair Scholars Graduate

By Christine Duellman
UW-RF News Bureau
[photos]
MAY 6, 2005--A banquet for graduating seniors who participated in the McNair Scholars Program was held on May 4 at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to recognize their work as program scholars. McNair scholar and UW-RF alumnus Terrence Galbreath, who is attending graduate school at Bethel College, spoke to the group of graduates.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program is a federally funded program designed to help students from low-income and first-generation college families or from under-represented groups go to graduate school and earn doctorate degrees. The scholars were recognized for completing the first leg of the program.

The U.S. Congress funded this program in 1989 in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who was a laser physicist and astronaut killed in the Challenger explosion.

In its sixth year at UW-RF, McNair is one of the 176 programs at colleges and universities throughout the nation.
"This program puts more people through the education pipeline," said Phil George, UW-RF McNair program director. "McNair gives people research experience, teaching experience, social skill development and preparation for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination)."

In order to qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, students must have a grade point average of at least 3.0, the desire to earn a Ph.D., be a first-generation college student from a low-income family or traditionally underrepresented group in postsecondary education.

Students involved with McNair also receive help from a faculty mentor, assistance applying to graduate school, opportunities to attend professional development seminars and opportunities to receive stipends for summer research experiences. Through the program, graduate school application fees are wavered and travel expenses to professional conferences are paid.

"McNair has made a tremendous impact on my education here at River Falls, me," said UW-RF McNair graduate Mary Vang. "I have gained experience with researching, presenting my research at national conferences and learning about what graduate schools will be best for. I feel that being a McNair scholar opened a lot of doors for me to attend many graduate schools nationwide. It gave me credibility by having experiences that other undergraduates may not have."

Galbreath, who spoke to the group, is currently pursuing a master's degree in arts and theological studies. He graduated from UW-RF in 2004. Eventually, he hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in African-American religious studies.

"I had never really thought about pursuing a Ph.D. before the program but it just seemed like such a positive thing," said Galbreath. "It's a phenomenal program, and I think the principles they instill in the program lay down a foundation for grad school that will most definitely help you succeed.

Graduating McNair scholars are listed by name, hometown, major and McNair faculty mentor:

Wisconsin:
Leila Albert, Baldwin, history, Professor Ed. Peterson
Melissa Baker, Haward, Earth science, Professor Kelly Cain
Joseph Bollman, River Falls, soil science, assistant Professor Michael Crotser
Michelle Gryczkowski, Somerset, psychology, Professor Travis Tubrè
Marion Majeske, River Falls, biotechnology, Professor Purnendu Vasavada
Andrew Peralta, Oshkosh, broad field science, associate Professor Katherine Miller
Kara Proctor, River Falls, English, assistant Professor Jennifer Brantley
Matthew Schuelke, Glidden, psychology, Professor Travis Tubrè
Lisa Vanderwyst, Marshfield, math education, Professor Kathryn Ernie
Serena Weber, psychology, River Falls, Professor Daniel Linwick.

Minnesota:
Heidi Conrad, St. Paul, Minn., chemistry, Professor Kevin McLaughlin
Abigail Olson, Oakdale, Minn., biology, Professor Brad Mogen
Tomas Pulford, Richville, Minn., psychology, Professor Brad Caskey
Jaime Thissen, Glencoe, Minn., environmental science, Professor Kelly Cain
Mary Vang, St. Paul, Minn., education, Professor Florence Monsour

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:23 Central Daylight Time

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