Thirteen Sul Ross State University students are working on undergraduate research projects this summer as part of the 2017 McNair Program. The students present their findings July 5 and 6 from 1-3 pm in SRSU’s Lawrence Hall, room 309.

A fourteenth student in the Sul Ross McNair Program, Yelixza Avila, Tornillo, was accepted to participate in the summer 2017 NSF-REU Program hosted by the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Texas. She is working on research regarding the non-toxic gold nanoparticles for cancer therapy under the direction of Dr. Mohammad A. Omary, UNT Distinguished Research Professor.

This summer’s McNair students represent a wide range of disciplines that include biology, geology, communication, chemistry, English, business, biology, animal science, criminal justice and Homeland Security.

In addition to Avila, 2017 McNair Program students, their hometowns, projects and faculty mentors are:

*Vince Apodaca, Anthony, “Too Much of a Good Thing? Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Growth in Two Outlier Cases,” Dr. David Watson.

*Dominic Carrillo, Midland, “The Impact of Accommodated Vehicle to Vehicle Communication,” Dr. Kennard Laviers

*Joey Chavez, Alpine TX, “The Study of Manga: An Approach to Japanese Literary Development and Its Effects on Western Culture,” Dr. Theron Francis

*Ronald Clark, Killeen, “Synthesis of Heterocyclic Scaffolds as Potential Phosphoanhydride Isosteres.” Dr. David Leaver

*Stephanie Elmore, Fort Stockton, “The 1995 Alpine Earthquake,” Dr. David Rohr

*Olivia Enriquez, Lamesa, “A Study of Luecobands in the Wax Factory Laccolith, Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX,” Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk

*Miranda Gilbert, San Antonio, “Comparing the Number of Radio Loud Quasars with High Velocity H-beta Line Widths to Total Number of Quasars,” Dr. Anirban Bhattacharjee

*Katherine Mancha, San Antonio, “Post-Burn Analysis of the Insect Diversity at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, Jeff Davis County, Texas,” Dr. Chris Ritzi

*Victor Mendoza, McCamey, “Unauthorized Immigration: Illuminating the Dark Figure of Crimmigration,” Dr. Hamin Shabazz

*Fabiola Muniz, San Antonio, “Does Pitch Matter? A Study of Gender Difference in the Attribution of Announcer Credibility,” Dr. Esther Rumsey

*Linda Padilla Cruz, El Paso, “Equal Justice Under Law: Racial Differentials in Sentencing,” Liza Ware and Dr. Lorie Rubenser

*Breeann Sturges, Woodlake CA, “Effects of Morinda citrifolia (noni) Oral Supplementation on Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Status of Exercised Horses,” Dr. Rebecca Splan

*Tiffany Vallejo, Laredo, “The Diets of Snakes in the Transpecos Region of Texas,” Dr. Sean Graham

McNair students receive tuition for a three-hour Summer I course to complete their project, as well as a room and board scholarship. Upon completion of their projects, each student receives a $2,000 stipend. In addition to the on-campus McNair-Tafoya Symposium, students are encouraged to present their findings at state and national conferences.
Students from the 2016 program presented their research at Center of Big Bend Studies 23rd Annual Conference, Alpine; 12th Annual Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, Beaumont; 19th Annual Texas National McNair Research Conference, Denton; 120th Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Belton; 2017 Geological Society of America South-Central Section Annual Meeting, San Antonio; 2017 Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol, Austin; 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Memphis, TN; and Christmas Mountains Research Symposium, Terlingua.

“This summer we upped our game and our McNair Summer Research Institute is more rigorous than ever,” said Dominique Vargas, McNair Program director. “Faculty and staff from numerous Sul Ross departments have helped our scholars this summer with their research, presentation and graduate school preparations. Our McNair Scholars are incredibly self-motivated, hardworking and talented. I am lucky to be part of their educational journey.”

Students will participate in the annual McNair-Tafoya Symposium in the fall, as well as year-long academic conference presentations and graduate school acceptances.
The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to encourage first generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in the program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.

Named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space shuttle explosion, the program was established at Sul Ross in November 2007. It is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs.

For more information on the McNair Program, contact Vargas, (432) 837-8019.