Nine undergraduate researchers named new McNair scholars

| Julie Poquette

Nine University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students have been selected to participate in the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair program is a learning community that prepares eligible students for careers in research.

Each year eight to 12 UW-Eau Claire undergraduates are recognized for their academic achievements and selected by faculty nomination for participation in the McNair program. 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.

Eligible McNair program participants include academically talented first-generation students from low-income families or academically talented students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented among American doctoral recipients.

Following are UW-Eau Claire’s newest McNair scholars:

  • Carly Goedhart, daughter of Denise Kitchak and Robert Goedhart of Superior, in collaboration with Dr. Bart Dahl, associate professor of chemistry, will pursue research on the synthesis and characterization of “smart” biaryl compounds useful as chemical “switches.”
  • Kimberly James, daughter of Andrea and Calvin James of Merrill, in collaboration with Dr. David Jewett, professor of psychology, will pursue research investigating variables that may influence the use of haloperidol in relation to sugar addiction.
  • Yer Lor, daughter of Wakoua Lor and Mao Xiong Lor of Holmen, in collaboration with Dr. Abby Hemmerich, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, will pursue research examining communication disorder issues confronting Hmong Americans and therapeutic best practices in the Hmong community.
  • Stanford Mitchell, son of Debi Mitchell and Tedd Mitchell of Waupaca, in collaboration with Dr. David Lewis, professor of chemistry, will pursue research exploring various dyes useful in cellular bio-sensing applications.
  • Clorice Reinhardt, daughter of Monica and Randy Reinhardt of Pepin, in collaboration with Dr. Sudeep Bhattacharyay, assistant professor of chemistry, will pursue research on the suitability of using quinone reductase enzymes as localized anti-cancer agents.
  • Nicholas Reitano, son of Peggy and Paul Reitano of Hudson, in collaboration with Dr. Nora Planas-Roure, assistant professor of chemistry, will pursue research investigating energy storage technology suitable for use with renewable energy sources.
  • Megan Schilling, daughter of Sherry Johnson and Todd Schilling of Hager City, in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Goodman, associate professor of psychology, will pursue research into attitudes of stigma and responses to it in individuals.
  • Joshua Ryan Stringer, son of Pamela and Charles Stringer of Marion, Ohio, in collaboration with Dr. Marquell Johnson, associate professor of kinesiology, will pursue research on best practices for encouraging and supporting physical activity among individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Ashley Sukhu, child of Tempori Thomas of Victoria, Minn., in collaboration with Dr. Mary Hoffman, professor of  communication and journalism, and Dr. Kris Knutson, assistant professor of communication and journalism, will pursue research into the effects that language choice and messaging strategies have on institutional responses to bias incidents in university settings.

UW-Eau Claire is one of only 151 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.