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Ten Students Named McNair Scholars
at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Nov. 7, 2005

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 faculty nominate talented undergraduate students recognized for their academic achievement. Ten are selected to participate in the program. McNair Scholars plan to go on to graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree. They typically spend two years in McNair, during which they take special seminars, pursue collaborative research with faculty, and eventually publish and present their research to the academic community.

UW-Eau Claire is one of 147 institutions nationwide to be awarded a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. The program's namesake, Ronald Erwin McNair, received a doctorate in physics from M.I.T. in 1976 and was an expert on lasers. He joined NASA in 1978 and died aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded in January 1986.

Following are students from your area:

  • Brandon Barrette, son of Paul and Julie Barrette of Green Bay. In collaboration with Alexander Smith, professor of mathematics, Barrette will pursue research on the use of Schwarzchild and Kerr solutions to track geodesics or paths of particles around black holes.
  • Brittany Gragg, daughter of Mike and Karen Gragg of Waukesha. In collaboration with April Bleske-Rechek, professor of psychology, Gragg will pursue research on deception in opposite-sex friendships.
  • Erin House, daughter of George and Diane House of Eau Claire. In collaboration with Martina Lindseth, professor of German, and Helaine Minkus, professor of anthropology, House will pursue research on the history of Turkish guest workers in Germany and their current status in society, focusing on linguistic assimilation and educational programs designed to aid in integration.
  • Heidi Jackson, daughter of William and Rose Jackson of Eau Claire. In collaboration with Paul Kaldjian, professor of geography, Jackson will pursue research on the relationship of women's education to their economic viability and their political and social standing in indigenous Asian communities.
  • Stephanie Lopez, daughter of Charles and Kathleen Lopez of Rochester, Minn. In collaboration with Mary La Rue, lecturer in kinesiology, Lopez will pursue research on burnout experienced by athletic training students.
  • Lori Scardino of Eau Claire. In collaboration with Scott Hartsel, professor of chemistry, Scardino will pursue research on the use of fluorescence microscopy to examine the effect of an antifungal drug on specific organelles in human cells.
  • Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Larry and Terie Smith of Sauk Centre, Minn. In collaboration with James Phillips, professor of chemistry, Smith will pursue research examining structural changes of Lewis acid and base complexes.
  • Zachary Stensen, son of Robert and Julie Stensen of Augusta. In collaboration with Sandra Starck, professor of art and design, Stensen will create a series of portraits of people from his hometown to explore the relationships between environment, physical appearance and time.
  • Alison Welin, daughter of Vern and Elaine Welin of Fall Creek. In collaboration with Tali Lee, professor of biology, Welin will pursue research on red clover and prairie restoration projects.
  • Carly Wickhem, daughter of Susan Wickhem of Oregon. In collaboration with Daniel Janik, professor of biology, Wickhem will pursue research identifying factors that affect circadian rhythms in Syrian hamsters.



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