The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McNair Program is celebrating exemplary scholars and their achievements in recognition of TRIO Day. Programs within TRIO include federally funded outreach and student services programs, including the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and Educational Opportunity Centers. These initiatives allocate supplemental resources and guidance to first-generation college students, students from restricted-income families, students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and students with disabilities to confront social and cultural disparities within education in the United States.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McNair Program would like to recognize a few exceptional TRIO students and staff that represent the values and mission of the organization.
The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program presents the following scholar with the Newcomer Award. The Newcomer Award recognizes students for displaying outstanding academic and leadership potential as a new participant in the UW-Eau Claire McNair program.
Major: Mathematics with a research emphasis
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Carolyn Otto and Dr. aBa Mbirika
Janeè is currently researching a combinatorial approach to 3-manifolds. Her study aims to classify families of manifolds based on their distinct characteristics or genera. Along with her mentors, they will employ combinatorial techniques to achieve their objectives, including permutations and graph theory. Moreover, Janeè intends to explore an unfamiliar process or set of guidelines for creating manifolds from low-dimensional objects such as knots, grids, and graphs. Outside of McNair, Janeè was nominated for the prestigious Goldwater scholarship, and is seeking publication for a paper on Pell and associated Pell braid sequences as GCDs of sums. After graduation, Janeè hopes to complete their doctorate in Mathematics and make a positive impact on the math community in terms of advancing diversity.
The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program would like to recognize a scholar with the Achiever Award. The Achiever Award is given to exceptional students characterized by high academic achievement, superior character, service to others, leadership, and commitment to the mission of TRIO.
Major: Spanish Liberal Arts and Latin American Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kati Barahona-López
Zachary is currently researching the effects an immersion experience has on perceptions of race, class, and gender, within the United States and in the world. His research was influenced by his own immersion experience and how that changed the way he perceived these topics on a local and global level. Besides McNair, Zachary is involved on campus as a resident assistant and an intern at the UWEC Center for International Education. Post-graduation, Zachary hopes to pursue international education with the Peace Corps, Fulbright, or other international organizations.
The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program presents the following scholar with the Dedication Award. The Dedication Award is given to students that demonstrate great dedication and persistence in their academic work.
Major: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Krysti Knoche-Gupta (UWEC) and Prof. Barbara B. Bendlin (UW-Madison)
Muhaison is currently working on two research projects: one of which investigates the bioelectrocatalysis of Methylobacterium Extorquens. This is a bacteria species known for metabolizing carbon compounds, which could be harmful to the ozone layer. Muhaison is attempting to harness the redox activity of these bacteria to generate electricity that can power devices like biosensors. The other research project investigates how some gut microbes affect the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Muhaison’s research in this area samples patients in the preclinical stages of Alzheimer's and tests their stools to predict how the contents of such exacerbate Alzheimer's disease progression. Outside of McNair, Muhaison participates in club soccer and writes poems in Arabic. After graduation, Muhaison will continue his post-baccalaureate research at Mayo Clinic.
The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program presents the following scholar with the Pacesetter Award. This award recognizes students who exhibit superior leadership by extensive involvement and outstanding service to their school, community, or profession.
Major: Organizational Communication
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Schultz and Dr. Kelly Wonder
Due to her extensive community involvement and service to her school, community, and profession, Miranda Ricci is the winner of the 2023 TRIO Pacesetter. During her undergraduate career, Miranda has shown her leadership and commitment through her involvement with the Student Senate, the Ronald E. McNair program, and the Dean of Student’s office. In just her second year at UWEC—Barron County, she was elected Student Body President, where she worked on behalf of the student body to make the community a better place. After she transferred to the main campus of UWEC, she continued her leadership through her internship in the Dean of Student’s office. As an intern, she worked with Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion programs to better support disadvantaged students and raise awareness for some of the campus’ support systems, such as the food pantry, campus closet, Multicultural Student Services, and more. Miranda’s work on campus continued during her assistantship with the office of Violence Prevention, showing her commitment to make campus a safer place. Additionally, her research in the Ronald E. McNair program displays her commitment to working with and supporting disadvantaged students, which she hopes to use as she continues her professional career in student support programs and beyond. Miranda will be continuing her education at UW-La Crosse this fall as she works for her master’s degree in the Student Affairs Administration program!
The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program presents the following faculty member with the Friend of TRIO Award. This award recognizes faculty who contribute to the McNair Program with their involvement, commitment, and mentorship. Rob answered a few questions in relation to his work.
Program: Learning and Technology Services (LTS)
What is your position at UWEC, and what kinds of projects does your work include?
“I work for Learning and Technology Services (LTS) as a videographer and AV support. I work with every department on campus, helping them capture and live stream video of all sorts of things, including guest speakers, student presentations, faculty presentations, commencements, events, and anything video related that I can help with.”
What are some of the projects you have worked on in collaboration with the McNair program and TRIO?
“I’ve worked with McNair on most of their annual student presentations. In the past, this has been recording McNair students one-on-one during their presentations. This year, I helped Ka get the room ready for presentations which were recorded and streamed online. I’ve also made a number of videos for TRIO, helping to market the program and talk about their service. In fact, I’m working on one right now.”
What has been the most memorable part about your work with the McNair program and TRIO?
“Moreso in the past, McNair used to do recordings of all their students, and it was a fun setup. The problem was that the students needed to make longer speeches in one take. Some days we spent hours making them, others took minutes to get done. You just never knew, but it was fun to make connections and get to know the students. I’ve enjoyed working with Kelly, Ka, Katie, Katie, and Vicky over the years and am always happy to jump in and help.”
He added that “For me, helping McNair and TRIO is super rewarding, the students are great, the staff is fantastic, their work is so important and their services are so needed. The work they do really helps make the campus more accessible and welcoming.”
Article developed by Claire Bradley, Max Hall, and Anna Wendorff