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07/20/2012

McNair Scholars Present Summer Research Projects

Quick Facts

 Twenty-three students participated in this year's McNair Scholars program, which is also its third year.
 Students had six weeks to complete their projects with help from faculty mentors.
 The program is named for late astronaut Ronald McNair, a South Carolina native who explored the cosmos as a scientist and NASA astronaut.

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Shantelle Igiozee
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Dwana David
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Jose Paramo
ROCK HILL, S.C. — Is Facebook the new generation’s answer to a diary? Can attitudes regarding interracial romances be predicted? Do strategies for effectively teaching chemistry through online means need to be investigated and developed more?

These topics represented glimpses into the minds of the 23 McNair Scholars as they presented their research Friday at the Research Symposium in Tuttle Dining Room. They had six weeks to prepare the projects.

Cheryl Fortner-Wood, director of the program and an associate psychology professor, said she is proud of the scholars’ work.

“What impresses me most is how each student responded to the challenges they encountered during the six weeks they were allotted to complete their project,” she said. “Despite these obstacles, each scholar completed a scholarly project that contributes new knowledge to their field. This wouldn’t be possible without the one-on-one support provided by the faculty mentors.”

Faculty mentors included Merry Sleigh, Laura Ullrich and Nick Grossoehme.

• Senior exercise science and physical therapy major Shantelle Igiozee explored the potential effects of “food deserts.” As the Columbia, S.C., resident explained, “food deserts” are locations one or more miles from a main retailer, such as Wal-Mart. She assessed multiple main retailers along with “fringe retailers,” or smaller companies such as convenience stores, on price, availability and quality, discovering that lower socioeconomic areas are more likely to become food deserts because of proximity to main retailers. In the future, she is exploring the effects these environments could have on obesity rates.

• Junior psychology major Dwana David turned to social network, specifically Facebook, for her project. The Charleston, S.C., native investigated the feelings people have after they’ve had time to “reflect” on a happy or sad event on Facebook and if age affected that feeling as well. Though she expected more people to say the reflection helped them, most said they did not feel different afterward, and there was no link with the age.

• Digital information design major Jose Paramo discussed potential consequences and implications of a U.S. platoon refusing orders in the Iraq War. The platoon included some soldiers from Rock Hill.

The McNair Scholar program, entering its third year, is part of the prestigious federal Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Degree Program, named for the late astronaut Ronald McNair. He was a South Carolina native who went on to explore the cosmos as a scientist and NASA astronaut.

The McNair program provides scholarship and program funds to encourage and support students who are first-generation, disadvantaged or under-represented in their pursuit of graduate education. The program supports future doctoral studies through the students’ research and other scholarly activities.

The scholars also completed the first steps of applying to graduate programs. Next week, they will spend 30 hours preparing for the Graduate Records Exam (GRE).

The other McNair Scholars are: Brittany Walker, Shanique Sumter, Derion Reid, John Huffman, Brianna Barnette, Zachary Collier, Kierra James, Brittany Lawrence, Brittney Black, Brittany Pioleau, Vitta Clawson, Chelsea Johnson, Chauntice Buck, Macreshia Salters, Amy Moore, Aaron Fountain, Destinee Johnson, Nicole Drown, Hannah Swan and Jasmine Morgan.

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