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Nine undergraduate researchers named McNair Scholars

December 9, 2013

EAU CLAIRE — Nine University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students have been selected to participate in the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair Program is a learning community that prepares students for careers in research.

Each year eight to 12 talented UW-Eau Claire undergraduates are recognized for their academic achievements and selected by faculty nomination. McNair Scholars plan to attend graduate school to pursue doctoral degrees. As undergraduates they engage in two years of collaborative research with faculty, which generally leads to publication and scholarly presentations in their respective disciplines.

Following are the new 2013-14 UW-Eau Claire McNair Scholars:

  • Lynzy Abress, daughter of Jennifer Delling Abress, Wyoming, Minn., and Kenneth Abress, Stacy, Minn., will pursue research focusing on a comparison of selected behavioral traits in both wild and captive primate populations with Dr. Daniel Strouthes, associate professor of geography and anthropology.

  • James Dulaney III, son of Sharon and James Dulaney II, Shakopee, Minn., will pursue research focusing on the exploration of a novel process for the synthesis, from amino acids, of imines useful in industrial and pharmaceutical applications with Dr. David Lewis, professor of chemistry.

  • Mary Eppolite, daughter of Valerie McCarthy and Patrick Eppolite, Wausau, will pursue research focusing on mapping the microgeography of Cajun language and culture in the Atchafalaya-Mississippi fluvial basin with Dr. Jessica Miller, associate professor of foreign languages.

  • Kong Her, son of Cher Her and Oa Vue Her, Eau Claire, will pursue research focusing on the collection of oral histories of Hmong "secret war" veterans and their transition to life in the United States with Dr. Joseph Orser, visiting assistant professor of history.

  • Alexandra Hillstrom, daughter of Cheryl Hillstrom, Minnetonka, Minn., will pursue research focusing on an exploration of the effect of invasive flora on native pollinators with Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff, professor of biology.

  • Jenna Rosquist, daughter of Angie and Don Rosquist, Merrillian, will pursue research focusing on an examination of the relationship between maternal relationship quality and the development of relational aggression in young adults with Dr. April Bleske-Rechek and Dr. Jennifer Muehlenkamp, associate professors of psychology.

  • Tayo Sanders II, son of Gail Leitl, Neenah, and Tayo Sanders, Beloit, will pursue research focusing on the development of fabrication techniques of gold nanoparticle thin films useful in increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic solar cells with Dr. Marcus McEllistrem, academic program director, Materials Science Center, and associate professor of chemistry.

  • David Simenson, son of Patricia and David Simenson, Withee, will pursue research focusing on the use of ground-penetrating radar and soil samples to explore the formative forces responsible for the Minnesota Point spit with Dr. Harry Jol, professor of geography and anthropology.

  • Heather Williquette, daughter of Carol and Kelly Williquette, Greenleaf, will pursue research focusing on an examination of the perception of the attractiveness of members of either dating pairs or opposite-sex friendship pairs with Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, associate professor of psychology.

UW-Eau Claire is one of only 127 institutions nationwide to house a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. McNair, the program's namesake, received his doctorate in physics in 1976 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an expert on lasers. He joined NASA in 1978 and died aboard the space shuttle Challenger, along with six other astronauts, when it exploded in 1986.




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