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Ten New McNair Scholars
Chosen at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Nov. 19, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — Ten students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have been selected for the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

Each year faculty nominate talented undergraduate students, recognized for their academic achievement, and select up to ten to participate in the program. McNair Scholars want to become researchers, a plan that involves their attending graduate school and pursuing a doctoral degree. They spend two years undertaking collaborative research with faculty members and eventually publish and present their research to the academic community.

UW-Eau Claire is one of 177 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 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and was an expert on lasers. He joined NASA in 1978 and died aboard the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger mission in January 1986.

Rochelle Halama, daughter of Rosemary Joles and Ric Halama of Whitehall, in collaboration with Dr. Mohammed Elgindi, professor of mathematics, will pursue research on developing mathematical models to simultaneously estimate blood alcohol concentration and breath alcohol concentration.

Elizabeth Kooistra, daughter of Maria and Robert Kooistra of Lakeville, Minn., in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Klatt, associate professor of psychology, will pursue research on the building blocks of verbal communication with very young children diagnosed with autism.

Kathryn Lance, daughter of Lynn and James Lance of Wales, in collaboration with Dr. Johannes Strohschänk, professor of foreign languages, will pursue research on persistent mistakes in subject-verb agreement that English speakers make, which reveal unique aspects of the English language's evolution.

Kayla Lorenzen, daughter of Doreen and Rodney Lorenzen of Colfax, in collaboration with Dr. George Stecher, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will pursue research on how the analysis of asteroids' rotational periods can assist the process of standardizing comparative and target stars.

Angela J. Manlick, daughter of Marsha and Mike Manlick of Auburndale, in collaboration with Dr. Sasha Showsh, associate professor of biology, will pursue research on bacteriocins, bacteria's own defense mechanisms, in order to explore how these might be used to fight resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria that plague the food industry and medical institutions.

Lyndsay Nelson, daughter of Cindy and Terry Nelson of Ashland, in collaboration with April Bleske-Rechek, assistant professor of psychology, will pursue research on the evolutionary framework of personal choice involving moral dilemma.

Amanda Niedfeldt, daughter of Janet Fett and Michael Niedfeldt of Stoughton, in collaboration with Dr. Audrey Fessler, assistant professor of English, will pursue research on new women's fiction, a still largely unexplored genre within turn-of-the-20th-century British literature by women.

Touger Thao, son of Sheng Yang Thao and the late Vang Thao of Eau Claire, in collaboration with Dr. Scott Lowe, professor of philosophy and religious studies, will pursue research on the role of shamans among the Hmong people, particularly among those who undertook the immigration to the United States.

Heather Sommer, daughter of Carolyn and Chris Sommer of Mondovi, in collaboration with Dr. Erica Benson, assistant professor of English, will pursue research on Midwesterners' peculiar non-standard construct "those + ones." Sommer seeks to determine if this stigmatizing usage is social-class stratified or whether it now constitutes standard English.

Emily Worzalla, daughter of Janeen Worzalla of Madison, in collaboration with Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour, associate professor of music, will pursue research on the role Spanish language music has played in shaping mainstream American music over the past two decades. Worzalla theorizes this role is a measure of the general population's regard for Spanish-speaking immigrants.

More information on the UW-Eau Claire's McNair Scholars Program is available online.

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NW

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