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Spotlight Scholars

Jenna Jandrt

Jenna Jandrt

Extending my knowledge of research into the Fall 2016 semester in efforts of acceptance into graduate school, I will be joining an existing research team facilitated by my faculty mentor, Dr. Leibham, whom I will also be collaborating on research regarding cultural distrust on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) campus with. This research will be completed in hopes of implementation subsequent to completion as UWEC recognizes potential implicit biases inherent within institutional practices. In addition to this research project, I will be continuing a research project I began in the fall of 2015 exploring self-reported cultural competency and student narratives prior and subsequent to participating in an alternative spring break trip to Clarkston, Georgia. This particular high-impact practice surrounds the United States criminal justice system and refugee resettlement and involves collaboration with a local non-profit organization called Something New. Other tasks coordinating this alternative spring break include creating an itinerary, maintaining communication with bus lines and museums, advertising and promoting, and coordinating service learning projects for students to complete upon arrival back to campus. As part of the McNair program, I will be presenting the research I am currently working on surrounding Montessori schools and socio-emotional development at the 25th Annual National Ronald E. McNair Research Conference and McNair Symposium. In additional to presentations, my current faculty mentor and I, Nicole J. Schultz, are exploring journals to submit my research paper to. The fall following commencement, I fully intend to attend graduate school for Educational Psychology at Georgia State University where I hope to be a part of the Urban Child Study Center research team that assists in the design of projects that promote positive outcomes for children attending school in inner-city areas. In regards to long-term goals, I envision myself working in the school system designing programs that implement diversity in common core curriculum based on the age and academic level of students. This passion is driven by my interest in programs such as Educational Psychology, Social Psychology, Sociology, and Religious Studies –all of which supplement my love for learning about and working with people of diverse backgrounds.


Clorice Reinhardt

Clorice Reinhardt

My name is Clorice Reinhardt, and I am a member of the 17th cohort of UWEC McNair Scholars. I currently do research in the chemistry department with Dr. Bhattacharyay in the field of computational enzymology. I have had a successful undergraduate research career resulting in two publications, oral presentations, and several recognitions. In the fall, I hope to submit a manuscript I have been working on and wrap up some work on collaborative projects in the lab. I'm also very blessed to have found the area I would like to specialize in and aspire to continue my work developing computational drug screening suites in a graduate setting. I hope to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry/Biophysics at the University of California-San Diego. Beyond research, I also want to continue to pursue my interest in volunteer work and mentoring. My recently acquired officer position in the student chapter of the American Chemical Society on campus will allow me to do more on this front. Ideally, I would like to establish a program aimed at reaching out to high school chemistry classes and informing them about research and opportunities available in college, such as the McNair program. In rural Wisconsin, a large demographic of high school students are completely unaware that they have potential to do research and get a PhD, while receiving support which they may not receive at home. I believe this is a message worth spreading. When I gave a classroom presentation at my former high school this past spring, students were actively engaged and curious to learn more.


Joshua Stringer

Joshua Stringer

Marion: a small, poor town in central Ohio surrounded by corn fields, oppressed by poverty, and now overrun with heroin. This is where I grew up, and my heart will always have a soft spot for it. I had a good family and never wanted for love or basic necessities, but life was not easy. Engineering jobs were virtually nonexistent in that town, so my dad faced a long commute each day to work in places where he was grossly undercompensated for his skills, merely because he did not have an engineering degree –despite the fact his many years of experience actually overqualified him for any job he could find. As such, we often wanted for things money could buy, such as a vehicle that would not break down every week. Were it not for my mom's parsimony, we would have ended up on the street many times. This may seem a childhood no one would want, yet I would not change a thing, for in hardship I learned many things. I learned to be grateful for what I have and not take luxuries for granted. I learned how to be resourceful and stand proudly on my own two feet. I learned how to work with my hands, how the sweat from my brow and ache in my back from honest labor made for sweet sleep when the day was done. I learned that no matter how little I had, I could always share a bit with someone who had less. But most of all, I learned the value of education, how a strong mind can take me much farther than a strong back ever could.That, quite simply, is why I am where I am today: a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. This wonderful program transcends the usual undergraduate academic rigors to serve a singular purpose of preparing its students for the true academic rigor of graduate school. What sets this program apart is its dynamic and intense focus on effective matriculation into graduate school. From identifying pertinent gaps in the current literature of my field as a future physical therapist and designing and implementing simple yet elegant research to fill those gaps, to guiding me in selecting, applying for, and funding my best-fit graduate program, the McNair Program serves as a springboard from which I can successfully launch my life.


Emilio Taiveaho

Emilio Taiveaho

Growing up as a first-generation immigrant in the American Midwest, born to a mother from Ecuador and a father from Finland, I have always been deeply aware of the power of language. As a child, I spent my afternoons buried in books; experiencing how new combinations of words could create new worlds in my imagination. At the same time, speaking Spanish at home and English at school, I realized that my understanding of the phenomenal world was always being shaped by language—for example, English allowed me to grasp the notion of "gender neutral" with greater ease, something that is difficult to understand in Spanish, a language in which almost everything is automatically gendered. Realizing that language could expand my possibilities of experiencing and understanding the world, I quickly became enamored with the idea of studying English Literature. Beginning my collegiate education at the University of Wisconsin –Eau Claire, I had the privilege of meeting professor Jose Alvergue, who first introduced me to Critical Theory. In his classes, rather than judging if a text was "good" or "bad," Dr. Alvergue illustrated the importance of making assessments of a sociopolitical kind, using cultural products (such as poetry, novels, films, works of art, etc.) as an entry point to interrogate the quality of social life itself—or, in other words, to better understand the political significance of cultural currents or movements and their effects in shaping the complex dynamics of everyday life. In this way, Dr. Alvergue allowed me to understand the interdependence of media and quotidian experience, and, as such, thoroughly shaped the path of my academic aspirations. This summer, through the McNair Program, I have had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Alvergue on a project titled Terra-Persona: The Poetics of Landscape &Personhood in Late-Twentieth Century America, which seeks to examine the ways postmodern poets Jenny Holzer and Leslie Scalapino have used language to negotiate the parameters of "personhood." By dissolving the conventional distinctions between self and other, subject and object, noumenon and phenomenon—and, therefore, deconstructing the traditional, western understanding of the person as a referential, unified, and continuous self—we argue that the work of these poets can allow us to expand our conceptual horizons and develop a more comprehensive idiom to confront issues facing our world today. This project, which will be submitted for publication, will be presented at the 25th Annual National Ronald E. McNair Research Conference. Simultaneously, this summer I have also worked with Professor Manuel Lopez-Safra on a project titled An Island in the Stream: the Buddhism of Gary Snyder, which seeks to delineate the ways American poet Gary Snyder has used Buddhism as a form of poetic, political, and environmental praxis. Informed by both of my research projects, I have also recently completed my first book of poetry, titled nowhere (NOW HERE). In the future, I hope to continue my research on the politics and intersections of language, place, and personhood in order to provide alternative methods to better discuss, understand, and confront many of the widespread social problems and inequalities plaguing our world today. At the same time, recognizing that intellectual pursuits have opened the doors to a myriad of possibilities in my own life, I hope to become a professor in order to inspire students to pursue their own research interests, creating a space for communication and dialogue and continuing my lifelong goal of using language to shape and improve our world for posterity.