McNair Scholars Showcase Research


McNair Scholars Showcase Research
Malena Walker explains her research on the shelf life of fiber-rich tortillas at the seventh annual McNair Scholars Program Summer Symposium.
These McNair Scholars were honored for their academic accomplishment July 27.
Martha Padilla explains her research on the role of pets in children's lives.

After six months of intensive research, 18 bright Cal Poly Pomona McNair Scholars showcased their findings at the seventh annual McNair Scholars Program Summer Symposium on July 27.  

The young researchers investigated highly diverse topics such as California's potential for a levee failure, the shelf life of tortillas, local traffic safety and children's attachment to pets. They each gave 20-minute presentations on their topics to packed conference rooms at the Bronco Student Center.

“The student work presented, represents academic excellence at its finest,” Doug Freer, vice president for Student Affairs, said at a luncheon for the students.  ”I had the opportunity to review the presentations, and I am truly impressed with the range and depth of the research conducted by this year's students.”  

Named for Ronald E. McNair, best known as one of the astronauts aboard the 1986 Challenger shuttle, the federally funded program encourages first-generation and low-income students, or those who are under-represented, to earn doctoral degrees through involvement with research, mentors, seminars and financial aid.

Cal Poly Pomona McNair Scholars have presented their research at conferences such as the American and Western Psychological Association conferences, the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research and the Annual California McNair Scholars Symposium at UC Berkeley, among others.

The university began the McNair Scholars Program during the 1999-2000 academic year.

Recently, Bridgette Cheeks, who was in the first cohort, became the university's first McNair Scholar to earn her Ph.D. Cheeks graduated with her bachelor's in June 2001 and went on to Claremont Graduate University.

Maria Aguiar Torres, dean of Chicano/Latin Student Affairs for the Claremont Colleges, gave the keynote address during a luncheon for the scholars. She commended Cheeks for her accomplishment and encouraged the current scholars to have similar aspirations.

“Bridgette is a star, and we have to recognize her as such,” Torres said.

Presenting McNair Scholars include:

  • Cristian Aguilar, Biotechnology                            
  • Cathleen Amado, Behavioral Science                            
  • Marissa Arango, Psychology                           
  • Kathleen Barnes, Gender, Ethnicity & Multicultural Studies                       
  • Yvonne Burgos, Psychology                            
  • Nubia Chinchillas, Biology                            
  • Vilma Deras, Animal Science                            
  • Octavio Hernandez, Behavioral Science                            
  • Eduardo Jimenez, Psychology                           
  • Rosemary Keinembabazi Kyompa, Finance, Real Estate & Law and Management & Human Resources                           
  • Gabriela Muniz, Psychology                            
  • Lydia Najim, Gender, Ethnicity & Multicultural Studies                            
  • Martha Padilla. Animal Science                       
  • Michael Pedro, Behavioral Science                            
  • Jennifer Stevens, Geography                           
  • Malena Walker, Mechanical Engineering                            
  • Jeanne Wu, Civil Engineering                            
  • Yiyu (Vicki) Yang, Civil Engineering