July 11, 2011

McNair Scholars to make research presentations

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale students in a program aimed at preparing them for research careers will present their latest projects during an event this week on campus.

The annual McNair Scholars Research Symposium is the culmination of the eight-week Summer Research Institute, which helps students prepare for graduate school by pairing them with faculty mentors on research projects. Students and faculty will present their results beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, July 15, at the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and broadcast news crews are welcome to cover the McNair Scholars Research Symposium, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, at the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. For more information, contact Rhetta Seymour, interim director of the McNair Scholars Program, at 618/453-4585.

Organizers have scheduled more than a dozen students and their mentors to give research presentations during the program, which kicks off with opening remarks by Prudence M. Rice, associate vice chancellor for research and director of the Office of Research Development and Administration. A panel of faculty judges will evaluate their work and presentations.

The students are part of the McNair Scholars Program at SIUC, which is named for the late Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and astronaut who died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

The program provides enriched instruction for low-income, first-generation or otherwise disadvantaged students. It emphasizes strong mentoring, professional development and research opportunities that promote academic excellence and encourage success at the graduate level.

Rhetta Seymour, interim director of the program, said the Summer Research Institute and Friday’s symposium encourage students to push themselves and achieve excellence beyond which they thought they were capable.

“We believe this program and event enhances the students’ research and critical thinking skills,” she said. “It provides them the confidence boost that will help take them on to graduate school.”

Students apply to become McNair Scholars during the sophomore year at SIUC, with those selected participating during their junior and senior years. Scholars take two specialized classes and work closely with faculty members on original research. The Summer Research Institute focuses on research, team-building and communications skills, among others.

This year’s research topics include work in agriculture and forestry, social work, criminal justice, psychology, anthropology, linguistics and speech communication.

John Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school, and John Nicklow, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, will present awards and mentor recognition at 3:35 p.m. following the presentations.