July 12, 2012

Symposium to feature McNair Scholars’ research

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students in a Southern Illinois University Carbondale program that prepares them for careers in research will present their latest work during an event and competition Friday, July 13.

The annual McNair Scholars Research Symposium is the culmination of the 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. in 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. For more information, contact Rhetta Seymour, interim director of the McNair Scholars Program, at 618/453-4585.



About a dozen students and their mentors will give research presentations during the program, which kicks off with opening remarks by John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school.  John W. Nicklow, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, will present awards later in the program.

The students are part of the McNair Scholars Program, 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 recognize the importance of undergraduate research, an emphasis at SIU Carbondale.

“Undergraduate research is empowering,” Seymour said. “It provides students with an exciting opportunity to learn more about their major and practically apply what they learn in the classroom. Students engaging in undergraduate research form a community of their peers and faculty that connects them with the University and enriches their pursuit of academic success.”

Seymour said anyone on campus or in the community who is interested in research and student success should attend the symposium.

Students apply to become McNair Scholars during the sophomore year, and those selected participate 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, Seymour said. The symposium showcases those efforts.

“Students share their research with the broader campus community by giving a 12-minute oral presentation,” she said.  “The event also features a poster showcase of projects completed by our freshmen participating in our Research Rookies Program.”

The poster forum begins at 11:20 a.m.