July 11, 2019

McNair Scholars will present research efforts next week

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Thirteen Southern Illinois University Carbondale undergraduate students who are participating in a program that prepares them for careers in research will present their work at the 16th annual McNair Summer Research Symposium on July 19. 

The symposium is from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., July 19, in Morris Library’s First Floor Rotunda and John C. Guyon Auditorium. This event includes 18 poster presentations from students participating in McNair, ILSAMP and SUPRE-affiliated undergraduate research programs. 

Four faculty judges will evaluate projects in two categories: STEM fields and social sciences and humanities. First- and second-place awards are given in each category. Rhetta Seymour, McNair Scholars Program interim director will present awards beginning at noon. 

The Summer Research Institute is an eight-week intensive program that equips McNair Scholars with the necessary research skills to succeed in graduate school.  Students pair with faculty members on their respective research projects. 

The list of undergraduate scholars, faculty mentors and topics is available. 

The list of undergraduate scholars by their hometown, major, and research topics are: 


  • Arthur: Christian Rose, mechanical engineering, “Fabrication of Titanium-based Perovskite Solar Cells.”
  • Carbondale: Yasmin Ibrahim, biological science, “Examination of Phosphorylation in Chlamydia trachomatis.”
  • Carbondale: Areaj Mubarak, biological science, “Golgi Analysis in the Primary Somatosensory Cortex of the Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber).”
  • Carbondale: Shalane Scott, criminology and criminal justice, “Does Location Matter? Domestic Violence from a geographical perspective.”
  • Carbondale: Andres Womac, mechanical engineering, “Biodegradable Polymers Reinforced with Single-Walled Carbond Nanotubes.”
  • Chicago: Destanee Williams, paralegal studies, “The Impact of the Environment on Child Deliquency.”
  • Huntley: Jacob Janicki, plant biology, “How accurate are labeling claims in CBD products?”
  • Makanda: Kaitlin Faust, animal science, “Assessment of commercial dog food and FDA Regulations across America.”
  • Morris: Jessica Jurak, physics, “Toward Developing Immunoassays Using the HE4 Biomarker to Improve the Early Detection of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.”
  • Charles: Joshua McCray, political science/history, “Civil Asset Forfeiture and excessive fees in the American Criminal Justice System: A blatant Constitutional violation?”
  • Westmont: Luis Prado, geography and environment resources, “Drone-based Monitoring of Harmful Algal Blooms: Preliminary Spectral Characterization and Model Building.” 


  • Nashville: Jawaun Valentine, history, “Black physicians and their contributions to the Western frontier.” 


  • Louis: Tori Rhone, biological science, “NADPH-Diaphorase Histochemistry on the Naked Mole-Rat Brain.” 

SIU has received McNair funding since 2003  

Named for the late Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and astronaut who died in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion, the program’s goal is preparing undergraduate students for graduate school through research and scholarly activities.  

Since receiving its first McNair grant 2003, SIU has provided opportunities to 200 students. Those students have gone on to earn 93 master’s degrees and 14 doctoral degrees. SIU’s program serves 29 students each year. 

Four students were also part of a National Science Foundation-funded program 

Four of the McNair students were also part of the Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ILSAMP) program. The program assists universities and colleges in their efforts to significantly increase the numbers of students matriculating into and successfully completing high-quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in order to diversify the STEM workforce. 

Psychology department faculty received grant to assist students 

Three faculty in the Department of Psychology received a grant from the American Psychology Association for the Summer Undergraduate Psychology Research Experience (SUPRE). This 8-week program gave five talented undergraduates who have little or no prior research experience an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of how scientific research is conducted. 

Students who were involved with that program listed by hometown or home institution, project, and mentoring faculty were: 


  • Alpharetta: Kristin Graves, “A Comparison of Working Memory Brain Morphology in ADHD vs Controls.” Michelle Kibby-Faglier, professor, psychology. 


  • Collinsville: Margaret Schlotter, “Early Temperament in Relation to Later Empathy and Theory of Mind.” Lisabeth DiLalla, professor, Family and Community Medicine, Behavioral Social Science.
  • Moline: Audrey Ambrosio, “Relation between Daily Number of Steps and Sleep in College Students.” Karla Fehr, assistant professor. 


  • Cedar Falls: MacKenzie L. Dallenbach, “The Role of Child Demographics in Parental Mental Health Stigma.” Karla Fehr. 


  • Painsville: Jordan Dunnigan, “Genetic and Family Environment Influences on 5-Year-Old Aggression.” Lisabeth DiLalla.