McNair Scholars Present Research


McNair Scholars Present Research
Bridgette Cheeks, Shakira Ferguson and Raffi Kaprielian during the eight annual McNair Scholars Program Summer Symposium on July 26.
The 19 scholars gather at Kellogg West.
Vilma Deras explains her research on the rat olfactory bulb during the symposium.

Nineteen undergrads from a variety of disciplines gathered July 26 to present their extensive research during the annual McNair Scholars Program Summer Symposium.

The symposium is the culmination of six months of dedicated and hard work. The students research projects varied greatly; however, they shared a common bond working and supporting each other during the challenging academic process.

In addition to peer support, each student was paired with a Cal Poly Pomona faculty member who acted as a mentor.

“When I first joined the program, I didn’t think I would make it,” said McNair Scholar Manuel Diaz, whose research examined sexual identity and educational experiences. “I had a lot of doubt, but now that I have finished the program, I have a lot of confidence in myself, and I’m looking forward to grad school.”

Like Diaz, many if not all of the McNair Scholars stated they felt more prepared and less intimidated in pursuing an advance degree.

“The McNair Scholars Program has opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” said Pricilla Antunez, who researched preservative-free tortillas and now plans to get her Ph.D.

The university began the McNair Scholars Program during the 1999-2000 academic year. Three scholars have since earned doctoral degree. They are: Bridgette Cheeks, Shakira Ferguson and Raffi Kaprielian.

The three trailblazers attended the McNair luncheon on July 26 where they received gold medals to represent the highest level of academic achievement.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded TRIO program named for Ronald E. McNair, best known as one of the astronauts aboard the 1986 Challenger shuttle. Program staff members and faculty mentors encourage 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.

Presenting McNair Scholars and their research include:

  • Priscilla Antunez: Effect of Oxygen Absorbers on the Stability of Tortillas Free of Preservatives
  • Gabriel Saldivar: Numerical Simulation of a Microthermophotovoltaic Energy Conversion System
  • Paulina Carreon: Bollywood and the Social Construction of Gender Identities
  • Ariana Robinson: Is There a Perfect Diversity Trainer? Combining Expert and Ally
  • Edith Avendano: Immunolocalization of the Leptin Receptor in the Equine Hypothalamus
  • Alberto Mora: Electroactive Polymers
  • Manuel Diaz: Sexual Identity and Educational Experiences
  • Victor Fierro: Dying to Get Through Mexico
  • Vilma Deras: Localization of GABA Transporters in the Rat Olfactory Bulb
  • Long Vuong: Rapid Evaluation of Quantum Chemical Integrals: Atomic Coulomb Interaction in Molecules
  • Mayra Cecilia Estrada: Autistic Savants: Media Portrayal of the Spectrum of Autism Disorder
  • Martha Gallo Acevedo: The Effectiveness of Out of School Time Programs
  • Rainy Grandpre: Measuring Moment Arms in the Digital Flexor Muscles of the Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
  • Airek Mathews: A Kinetic Study of 2,5-Diferrocenalcyclopentanone
  • Rocio Navarro: Oaxaca Resiste! The Politics of Education in the Face of Globalization
  • Ryan Moreno: Characterization of the Organic Extracts of Acinetobacter radioresistens 50V1
  • Lisa Williams: Whom Shall We Fear? Crime, Terrorism, and Racial Discourse in the 2006 Congressional Campaign
  • Stella Hartono: Histology-Guided Sampling and Analysis of Mitochondria from Individual Muscle Fibers using a Hyphenated Microscopy-Capillary Electrophoresis ¬†Laser Induced Fluorescence Detection