CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with West Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that 15 of its students have been named as part of the McNair Scholars program in the fall of 2022.

This comes after the university received more than $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education for the program, giving West Texas A&M the ability to use more than $275,000 in annual funding for the program for five years.

According to the release, the program, called the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, prepares “underrepresented, low-income and first-generation undergraduate students” at West Texas A&M University for doctoral research and other scholarly activities. Thirty West Texas A&M students participate in the program every year, receiving the guidance of a mentor overseeing a research project as well as resources to help complete the project.

“Students who take part in the McNair Scholars Program gain invaluable skills and benefit from intensive mentorship,” Victoria Salas, the director of the McNair Scholars program, said in the release. “We are grateful for this continued funding because it helps us continue to serve some of WT’s best and brightest students.” 

The 15 students participating in the fall 2022 program include:

  • Samantha Arroyo, senior sports exercise science major from Lubbock; 
  • Allan Baltazar, senior criminal justice major from Houston; 
  • Victoria Coleman, senior psychology major from Amarillo; 
  • Nicholas Dominguez, senior physics major from Hereford; 
  • Aurora Garcia-Comer, senior biology, biochemistry, and pre-med major from Borger;
  • Kimberly Gladney, senior communication disorders major from The Woodlands; 
  • Maryann Heffley, senior criminal justice major from Wellington; 
  • Fatima Hernandez, senior sociology major from Slaton; 
  • Andrea Mata, senior economics and mathematics major from Amarillo; 
  • Riley Phipps, senior sports exercise science major from Canyon; 
  • Evelyn Ramos-Rendon, junior Spanish major from Amarillo; 
  • Andres Rivas, senior plant, soil, and environmental science major from Amarillo; 
  • Delia Salinas, junior accounting major from Dalhart;
  • Joey Zimmerman, senior biochemistry major from Hutto.

According to the release, this program has been offered at West Texas A&M since 1999, with 245 scholars having earned their bachelor’s degrees and 146 scholars having earned a graduate or professional degree in that time.