CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University announced that 14 McNair students are set to showcase the results of their research into social media, history, climate change, antibiotics, ticks, K-pop and more at the McNair Scholars Research Showcase on Tuesday.

Officials detailed that the showcase will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the atrium of Cornette Library, giving students the chance to showcase their research projects for faculty, staff and the community.

“Few underrepresented and first-generation students have a clear plan to pursue doctoral studies or even undergraduate research when they enter college,” said Victoria Salas, WT McNair director. “Through their experience as a McNair Scholar, these opportunities can empower students and motivate them to pursue degrees beyond a bachelor’s. The variety of research among our 2023 cohort reinforces how vast the world of research can be in academia.”

The McNair Scholars Program, also known as the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, at WT prepares underrepresented, low-income and first-generation undergraduate students with the necessary research tools for their doctoral studies, according to officials.

Officials noted that the program won a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education which would provide $275,000 in annual funding for five years.

The program has been assisting WT students since 1999, officials said, resulting in bachelor’s degrees for 260 McNair Scholars and graduate or professional degrees for another 152 students.

The program allows students to gain knowledge through seminars on research methods, financial aid and the graduate school admission process along with provide tutoring, academic council, fee waivers for graduate applications, paid conference travel and more. Students in the program also receive the guidance of a mentor who oversees their research projects.

WT released the McNair students set to participate in the showcase, and their research topics:

  • Yadhira “Yaya” Avalos, a junior biology / pre-med major from Hereford: “Ethical Issues with Social Media in Health Care”;
  • Raquel Chavez, a senior physical therapy major from Los Lunas, New Mexico: “Muscle Fiber Characteristic Comparison Among Long Jumpers, 1500-Meter Distance Runners and 100-Meter Sprinters”;
  • Castina Dobbins, a senior accounting and finance major from Amarillo: “Exploring the Financial Hardships and Emotional Impact on Lives that Faced Cancer”
  • Stephanie Espinoza, a senior English major from Hart: “Unnatural Forces and Post-Colonial History: ‘La Llorona’”;
  • Annali Flores, a senior biology/pre-med major from Booker: “Effect of Antibiotics on Biofilm Formation in Staphylococcus Aureus and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”;
  • Wendy “Nayeli” Galvan, a senior biochemistry/pre-med major from Booker: “Synthesis and Characterization of Epoxidized Limonene”;
  • Joeziv “Joe” Hernandez, a junior social sciences education major from Amarillo: “Mexican American in World War II: Patriotism and Civil Rights”;
  • Samuel Isaac, a junior animal science/pre-vet major from Rocksprings: “Investigating Multi-Decadal Patterns of Changing Temperature and Their Effects on the Growing Season Length in the Texas Panhandle”;
  • Marty Kacsh, a senior animal science/pre-vet major from Evergreen, Colorado: “Comparison of Fitness in University Horses over Six Weeks”;
  • JoLina Lopez, a junior digital journalism major from Abernathy: “‘You Feel Like You Belong in Safe Places’: Defining ‘Servingness’ in Hispanic Serving Institutions through a Photovoice Study”;
  • Alejandro Mata, a senior political science major from Hereford: “Code Switching in Collegiate Forensics”;
  • Kara Ramirez, a senior biology/pre-vet major from Andrews: “Epidemiological Study of the Diversity, Distribution and Abundance of Ticks within the Texas Panhandle”;
  • Nadia Reyna, a sophomore health science major from San Antonio: “Patterns of Surgical Care and Additional Treatments for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): Post COVID-19”; and
  • Veronica Torres, a junior digital communication and media from Littlefield: “The K-pop Industry and Gender Discrimination Toward Female K-pop Idols.”

Officials added that McNair was one of six crew members who died in Jan. 28, 1986 when the Challenger exploded after its launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Following McNair’s death, Congress went on to name a research program in his honor. Officials noted that McNair became the second African American in space.

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