April 13, 2012

McNair Scholars program to host annual ceremony

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, ILL. -- An elite program that prepares undergraduates for success in graduate school will say hello to new students and so long to graduating ones during a special ceremony set for this weekend at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The McNair Scholars program is holding its annual Welcome Ceremony starting at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. The event serves as an annual crossroads for the program, where the University congratulates graduating students, welcomes new ones and salutes continuing McNair scholars.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the ceremony, which begins at 3:30 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library.

“Our students work hard all year to excel academically. We believe that the McNair Welcome Ceremony gives us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our scholars,” said Rhetta Seymour, interim director of the program.  “Our seniors receive a beautiful award to remind them of their past accomplishments and their future dreams of graduate school and beyond. We spotlight our new participants and induct them into the national McNair community.

“This event is a marvelous way for the McNair Program and the broader SIU Carbondale community to recognize and encourage our students,” she said.

SIU Carbondale’s McNair Scholars Program serves students from two populations, Seymour said.  The first population includes students from all ethnic backgrounds who are both first-generation college students and from low-income backgrounds.  The second population includes students from underrepresented minority groups.

The program is named for Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and astronaut who was one of seven astronauts killed in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. SIU Carbondale is one of the more than 200 universities that host the program.

Graduating scholars being honored during the ceremony include:

            • Amber Blacharski, a psychology major.  Her research project title was “Developmental Music History and Typical Music Engagement’s Impact on Overall Well-Being.” Her mentor was Philip Burke, professor of psychology. 

            Blacharski applied to the Social Psychology Program at the University of California at Riverside, the University of Nevada at Reno and Stanford University. While at SIU Carbondale, she received several scholarships.  Blacharski was also a research assistant in Michael Young’s cognitive psychology Laboratory.  

            • Elom Amuzu, a psychology major.  Her research project title was “The Association of Feminist Orientation and Ethnicity to Women’s Perceptions of Sexist Events.” Her mentor was Kathy Chwalisz, professor of counseling psychology.

            Amuzu will attend the doctoral program in counseling psychology at SIU Carbondale. As an undergraduate, she served as the president for SIU Carbondale’s chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle and was on the dean’s list for two semesters.  She is interested in furthering her research in the area of social justice and diversity issues with special attention to sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. Also, she works as a research assistant in Associate Professor Benjamin Rodriguez’s psychology laboratory.

            •  Darlyshia Cherry, a speech communication major. Her research project title was “There is No Rainbow for a Colored Girl: A Media Critique on the Misrepresentation of Black Women in For Colored Girls (2010) from a Black Feminist Standpoint.” Her mentor was Rachel Griffin, assistant professor of speech communication.

            Cherry will attend the master’s program in intercultural communication at SIU Carbondale. Her accomplishments include making the dean’s list four semesters and being the recipient of eight different scholarships. Cherry was involved with the SIU Carbondale Leadership Council, the Fall Leadership Conference, was as a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and co-coordinator of two praise and dance teams. She was also named one of SIU Carbondale’s Most Distinguished Seniors.

            • Marcus Brown, a social work major.  His research project title was “Attitudes and Ethical Concerns regarding E-Therapy.”  His mentor was Laura Dreuth-Zeman, professor of social work.

            Brown will attend the master’s of social work program at Washington University in St. Louis. His accomplishments include receiving the 2012 School of Social Work Undergraduate Student of the Year Award, the MAEOPP Board of Directors’ Scholarship, and the 2011 Saluki Scholars Research Opportunity Award.  Brown recently presented his research at the 2012 Illinois Council on Family Relations annual conference.  He served as an orientation leader, resident assistant, peer mentor and academic coach for the Center for Academic Success, and is a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters program. 

            • Kimberly Elsenbroek, a plant biology major.  Her research project title was “Differential Analysis of Active Mychorrizae Present Among Living and Deceased Piñon (Piñon edulis) and Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) trees in the Los Piños Mountains New Mexico.”  Her mentor was Sarah Baer, associate professor of plant biology.

            Elsenbroek will attend Indiana University Bloomington’s doctoral program in evolution, ecology and biological sciences. She was awarded five years of funding including a McNair Graduate Fellowship and received a Research-Enriched Academic Challenge (REACH) award as well as the Green Fund Grant to install water hydration stations on campus. She is a member of the Honors Society as well as the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and participated in the Chicago Ideas week as a University student ambassador. She was also named one of SIU Carbondale’s Most Distinguished Seniors.

            • An’Drea E. Hall, a criminology/criminal justice and sociology major. Her research project title was “Rethinking the Effect of Absentee Fathers on African American Female Delinquency.” Her mentor was Danielle Soto, assistant professor or criminology and criminal justice.

            Hall has applied to criminology programs at SIU Carbondale and the University of Missouri-St. Louis as well as criminal justice programs at Georgia State University and Illinois State University. She currently serves as the president for both the University’s Criminal Justice Association and Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice National Honor Society. As a recipient of the Saluki Scholar Research Opportunity Award, Hall continues to work with her mentor on issues of female delinquency.  

            • Jessica Miller, a linguistics major.  Her research project title was “Vocalic Effects on Lateral Velarization.” Her mentor was Karen Baertsch, assistant professor of linguistics.

            Miller will attend the master’s Program in the sociology department at SIU Carbondale where she received the Graduate Deans Fellowship.  She earned first place at the McNair Scholars Symposium and made the deans list five semesters.  Miller is a member of the University Honors Program, Students for Peace and Democracy and the Student Linguistic Association.  Miller also served as a guest lecturer in forensic linguistics as well as semantics and pragmatics. 

            • Crystal Newcomb, a social work major.  Her research project title was “The Issue of Diminished Funding in the State of Illinois for Substance Abuse Programs and the Effect it has on Clients and Practitioners.” Her mentor was Sarah Buila, assistant professor of social work.

            Newcomb will attend the master’s program in social work at SIU Carbondale, where she received the Graduate Dean’s Fellowship.  She was on the dean’s list for four semesters and is the recipient of the College of Education and Human Services C.L. “Pete” and Margaret Odum Memorial Scholarship and the Joyce Guyon Non-traditional Student Women’s Scholarship. While attending SIU Carbondale,  Newcomb tutored fellow students through the Center for Academic Success and conducted research as a recipient of the Saluki Scholars Research Opportunity Award.

            • Anthony Steinmetz, and anthropology major.  His research project title was “Hydraulic Fracturing: an Anthropological Approach to understanding fracking in the United States.” His mentor was John McCall, associate professor of anthropology.

            Steinmetz will attend the master of public administration program at SIU Carbondale, where he was a member of the Lambda Alpha Delta Honor Society. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Vito Marzullo Fellowship Program in Springfield.

            • Esmeralda Zamora, a criminology/criminal justice major.  Her research project title was “Mental Illness in Correctional Institutions: A Look at its Effects on Institutional Behavior.”  Her mentor was Daryl Kroner, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.

            Zamora was accepted into the master’s programs in Criminology at Illinois State and SIU Carbondale. Her accomplishments include being selected to present at “Posters on the Hill” in Washington, D.C., and receiving the Saluki Scholars Research Opportunity Award. She serves as the vice president for Students Promoting Education Advancement through Research, the secretary for the Criminal Justice Association, and is a new member of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority. Zamora’s research interests include exploration of environmental criminology, victimization, and offender profiling, including a focus on offenders with mental illness.

            Continuing McNair Scholars include:

            • Larry Greene, a speech communications major from Chicago. His mentor is Nathan Stucky, professor of speech communication.

            • Adrainne Kelly-Wright, a special education major from Evanston.  Her mentor is Morgan Chitiyo, associate professor of educational psychology and special education.

            • DanYale Locke, a marketing major from Chicago.  Her mentor is Mavis Adjei, professor of marketing.

            • Ravyn Shelton, a communication disorders and sciences major from Chicago.  Her mentor is Kitty Martin, senior lecturer in communication sciences and disorders.

            • Nathan May, an agricultural sciences major from Carbondale.  His mentor is Clayton Nielson, assistant professor of forestry.

            • Calvin Zimmerman, a sociology major from Chicago.  His mentor is Rachel Whaley, assistant professor of sociology.

            Members of the incoming 2012 McNair Scholars cohort include:

            • Briana Shaw, a criminology/criminal justice major from Carbondale.  Her mentor has not yet been named.

            • Megan Abell, an English major from Carterville. Her mentor is Jane Elizabeth Dougherty, associate professor of English.

            • Roniqua Roundtree, a psychology major from University Park.  Her mentor is Lisabeth Dilalla, professor of psychology.

            • Paige Preston, a student in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  Her mentor has not yet been named.

            • Brittany Dickson, a psychology major from Marion.  Her mentor is Stephanie Dollinger, associate professor of psychology.

            • Brittany Hoover, an agricultural education major from Chicago.  Her mentor has not yet been named.

            • Arrealle Owens, a history major from Westmont.  Her mentor has not yet been named.

            • Benard McKinley, a radio/television major from Marion.  His mentor Beverly Love, assistant professor of radio and television.

            • Mercedes Gomez Jacobo, a geography and environmental science major from Chicago.  Her mentor is Justin Schoof, associate professor of geography and environmental resources.

            • Phi Le, a psychology major from Belvidere.  Her mentor has not yet been named.

            • Lonnie Mann, an industrial design major from Marion.  His mentor is Robert Lopez, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design.