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Ten undergraduate researchers named new McNair Scholars

November 29, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Ten students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have been selected for the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair Program is a learning community that prepares students for careers in research.

Each year eight to 12 talented UW-Eau Claire undergraduates are recognized for their academic achievements and selected by faculty nomination. McNair Scholars plan to attend graduate school to pursue doctoral degrees. As undergraduates they engage in two years of collaborative research with faculty, which generally leads to publication and scholarly presentations in their respective disciplines.

Following are the new 2012-13 UW-Eau Claire McNair Scholars:

  • Joseph Davies, son of Alice and Gregg Davies, Beaver Dam, will pursue research analyzing the effects of varying shot lengths in film. He will collaborate with Dr. Joel Pace, professor of English.
  • Aleisha Johnson, daughter of Paula and Bob Johnson, Hugo, Minn., will pursue research focusing on spectroscopic investigations of hydrous impurities in quartz crystals. She will collaborate with Dr. Phillip Ihinger, professor of geology.
  • Jason Jorstad, son of Kris and Van Jorstad, Eau Claire, will pursue research analyzing the core ionization energies of transition metals. He will collaborate with Dr. Christine Morales, assistant professor of chemistry.
  • Ariel Lucas, daughter of Robin and Mike Lucas, Tomahawk, will pursue research analyzing the relationship between stress and task performance in rats. She will collaborate with Dr. David Jewett, professor of psychology.
  • Nathaniel Taylor, son of Susan Taylor, Waunakee, will pursue research comparing different meta-ethical philosophies. He will collaborate with Dr. Sean McAleer, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies.
  • Adam Tjaden, grandson of Loren and LeVon Walker, Altoona, and son of Carol Walker, Lakeland, Fla., and Don Tjaden, Menomonie, will pursue research exploring database management in very large datasets. He will collaborate with Dr. Jack Tan, professor of computer science.
  • Chi Ab Vang, daughter of Lu and May Vang, Stevens Point, will pursue research analyzing perceptions of credibility in the news in Moldova. She will collaborate with Jan Larson, associate professor of communication and journalism.
  • Choua Xiong, daughter of Tou Kor and See Thao Xiong, Appleton, will pursue research involving a critical analysis of "race" and ethnicity in Hmong gender roles. She will collaborate with Dr. Ari Anand, assistant professor of anthropology.
  • Ong Xiong, daughter of Joua Yia and Ger Lor Xiong, Eau Claire, will pursue research analyzing the morphology and utilization of gills in the order Ephemeroptera (mayflies). She will collaborate with Dr. Todd Wellnitz, associate professor of biology.
  • Kao Yang, son of May and Sai Yang, Eau Claire, will pursue research exploring the formation of gold nanoparticles in methanobactin solutions. He will collaborate with Dr. Marcus McEllistrem, associate professor of chemistry and materials science academic program director.

UW-Eau Claire is one of only 127 institutions nationwide to house a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. McNair, the program's namesake, received his doctorate in physics in 1976 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an expert on lasers. He joined NASA in 1978 and died aboard the space shuttle Challenger, along with six other astronauts, when it exploded in 1986.

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