Skip to main content

The 2022 McNair Scholars’ Research Symposium

The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire McNair program would like to invite students and community members to the annual celebration of undergraduate research. The McNair Scholars’ Research Symposium will be held on Wednesday, December 7th and Wednesday, December 14th from 5-7PM in room 1804 of Centennial Hall, or online via Zoom. All presentations are open to the public. Each scholar will showcase their research for 7 to 10 minutes followed by an a question and answer period with the audience.  The schedule of presentations is below.

We look forward to seeing you at the symposium. Thank you for supporting our scholars! 

Wednesday, December 7th from 5-7PM, Centennial Hall 1804

Sandra Prickett of Eau Claire, Wisconsin is studying biochemistry and molecular biology. After her undergraduate studies, she hopes to attain a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering with a focus in regenerative tissue engineering. Alongside her mentor Dr. Michael Walsh, she is investigating Monotropa uniflora for the presence of the neurotoxin grayanotoxin (GTX) using MCF-7 cell culture. The project seeks to determine if M. uniflora is a safe alternative to opioid painkillers, thus offering a solution to mitigate the opioid epidemic.

Hannah Temes of Genoa, Illinois is currently a senior with a political science - legal studies major. She plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in political science, with hopes of researching the development of political opinions online and how it affects political behavior and violence. With her mentor Dr. Damir Kovačević, their project titled “The Rise of QAnon: From a Chatroom Board to an International Movement" investigates the popularized conspiracy theory QAnon. Through social media, the project seeks to understand how QAnon has developed over time.

Shantel Brown is an English - Critical Studies in Literature, Culture, and Film major from Minocqua, Wisconsin. She plans to attend graduate school to achieve a PhD in English education, focusing on curriculum, instruction, and program evaluation. Shantel is investigating representation in contemporary coming-of-age films in her research titled “A Contemporary Exploration of Erik Erikson's Identity vs. Confusion Stage of Psychosocial Development in the Digital Age.” Through her research, she is looking to understanding identity development in emerging adults through their exposure to film. 

Cameron Merline of Madison, Wisconsin is studying psychology. His research, titled “Associations Among Parental Involvement, Self-Efficacy, Resilience, and Fear of Negative Evaluation in College Students with Disabilities”, investigates the effects of parenting on students with disabilities. Under the supervision of mentor Dr. Mary Beth Leibham, they are attempting to understand parenting differences in college students related to disability status. Additionally, whether feelings of self-efficacy, resilience, and fear of negative evaluation have any connection to disability status. After graduation, Cameron hopes to earn his PhD in clinical or developmental psychology.

Muhaison Ibrahim of Tema, Accra, Ghana is majoring in biochemistry. His research explores the gut microbiome factor as a factor of implication in Alzheimer's disease pathology, and is titled “Examining gut-microbial associations with measures of neurodegeneration in a cognitively unimpaired cohort enriched for Alzheimer's disease risk”. With mentor Dr. Barbara Bendlin, this research culminated in a clinical trial involving the use of probiotics to mitigate the progression of the disease. After graduation, Muhaison plans to study for his MD/PhD.

Jackson Orta of Bloomington, Minnesota is majoring in photography. His research, titled “Things Unseen and Unheard” highlights minorities in the photography and fashion industries in terms of representation for various populations. With mentor Dr. Wanrudee Buranakorn, his project seeks to normalize diversification of such fields. After graduation, Jack hopes to obtain a user experience design (UX/UI) certificate and an MFA in photography.   

Wednesday, December 14th from 5-7PM, Centennial Hall 1804

Lilianna Shank of Elkhart, Indiana is majoring in exercise science. Along with mentor Dr. Saori Braun, their research examines the impact of altered sleep patterns on mental fatigue and perceived burnout level among family medicine residents. The aim of the project is to compute variables related to sleep patterns and physical activity behaviors during three weeks of activity monitoring and intervention. After graduation, Lili plans to continue her education and receive a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, and ultimately work in a children’s hospital. 

McKenzie Rombach of Grantsburg, Wisconsin is studying psychology and marketing. McKenzie is looking to further her education with a master's degree in industrial organizational psychology.   

Mary Obias is a psychology major with a minor in family studies from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. After her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, she plans to attend graduate school to attain a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Alongside her mentor Dr. Jennifer Muehlenkamp, Mary is researching the factors that focus on self-recovery from non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among young adults. 

Courtney Westlund is a chemistry major from Iron River, Wisconsin. After her undergraduate studies, she plans to attain a Ph.D. in chemistry with a focus on organic chemistry. Alongside her mentor Dr. Bart Dahl, she is investigating three-state biaryl lactone molecular switches with amine donors. The project focuses on synthesizing four unique three-state molecular switches which can be utilized to create chemical technology, such as nanotechnology and molecular wires. 

Miranda Ricci is an organizational communication major from Cumberland, Wisconsin. She hopes to attend graduate school to receive a master’s degree in student affairs, focusing on higher education. With her mentors, Dr. Nicole Schultz and Dr. Kelly Wonder, she is researching the experiences of first-generation, low-income, and/or historically underrepresented students pursuing graduate school. Miranda hopes to utilize her research to better support students through her future career in student affairs. 


Feature written by Max Hall and Anna Wendorff.