In honor of National TRIO Day, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McNair Program is celebrating its outstanding scholars and their achievements. TRIO is a federally funded organization that runs educational opportunity programs, including the Ronald E. McNair Program, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services. These programs provide resources and guidance to first-generation college students, students from limited-income families, students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and students with disabilities with the goal of addressing social and cultural barriers to education in the United States.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McNair Program would like to recognize some outstanding TRIO students that embody the program’s values and mission. This year, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McNair Program is celebrating TRIO day on April 7.
The McNair Program presents the following scholars from Cohort 22 with the Newcomer Award. The Newcomer Award recognizes students for displaying outstanding academic and leadership potential as a new participant in our program.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jamie Tester
Andrea is researching how adverse childhood experiences affect the mental health and academic performance of college students. She is involved with the Academic Intervention Clinic, an organization that provides intervention services for children who are experiencing academic difficulties. She also works as a student mentor for freshman enrolled in Foundations for Academic Success, a course designed to help student populations such as students with disabilities and Student Support Services participants. Outside of her studies, Andrea works in a group home for adults with special needs. Andrea plans to attend graduate school to obtain her masters in school psychology.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeff Erger
A first-generation college student herself, Jaden is researching the experiences of first-generation college students within the UW system. Through this research, Jaden hopes to uncover areas of potential improvement within the UW system that may lead to the implementation of more equitable practices. Jaden is Director of Academic Affairs to Student Senate and is the Event Intern in UW-Eau Claire's Office of Admissions. She also volunteers as a Campus Ambassador. After graduation, Jaden would like to enter a Ph.D. program for Higher Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. Her long-term goal is to work in upper-level enrollment management at a university.
The McNair Program would like to recognize two scholars from the 2021 Cohort with the Achiever Award, Tyler Gonzales and Jordan Munos. 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: Mathematics, Research Emphasis
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Thomas
Tyler is researching numerical modeling and computational astrophysics. His research titled "Numerical Simulations of Atmospheric Passage of Interplanetary Dust Particles" is one of five different research projects Tyler completed during his undergraduate studies. He served as President of UWEC Math Club and has been a SK-Day workshop leader for three years, an event put on by the mathematics department to enhance diversity in STEM. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. After graduation, Tyler will attend Yale University to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics. Tyler hopes to work in the aerospace and defense technology industry or become a professor of mathematics at a research university.
Major: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jim Phillips
Jordan is researching the structural and energetic properties of OC–BX3 (X= F, Cl, or Br) complexes, specifically looking for the existence of two distinct structures with different B-C distances via quantum chemical computations and infrared spectroscopy experiments in Ar and Ne matrices. She is currently the president of the Women and Gender Minorities in STEM club. Jordan enjoys her role in this organization because it has allowed her to help bring likeminded people together as well as teach others about STEM, something she is incredibly passionate about. In her free time, she volunteers at the Eau Claire Mayo Clinic. Jordan plans to go onto to graduate school post-graduation and would like to utilize her computational skills in drug design and lab research in the future.
The McNair Program presents the following scholars from the 2021 Cohort with the Dedication Award. The Dedication Award is given to students that demonstrate great dedication and persistence in their academic work.
Major: Social Work and Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Muehlenkamp
Delaney is researching university counseling centers’ capability and comfortability in working with students presenting symptoms of schizophrenia. She is currently the lead intern for the Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative (SPRAC) program on campus and is the lead research assistant for a project examining risk factors of non-suicidal self-injury and suicide within LGBTQ+ individuals. Delaney will present her findings at the 2021 American Association of Suicidology conference. Post-graduation Delaney plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is most interested in understanding, developing and investigating new treatment interventions for individuals with schizophrenia.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anjela Wong
Tiana is researching health care professionals’ understandings and applications of cultural competence with the goal of finding areas for possible improvements. She is currently a member of the Pre-Professional Health Club on campus, which has helped her prepare for a physician assistant program. She also spent time as a board member of the UWEC Optimist Club. When she is on breaks from school, Tianan works as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a hospital. She spends time volunteering at a hospital in her hometown as a Floor Assistant and Emergency Department Liaison. Post-graduation Tiana will attend the UW La Crosse-Gundersen-Mayo-Marshfield Physician Assistant Program. She has wanted to be a physician assistant since high school and is excited to take the next step.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Scott Whitfield
Chris is researching musical string inharmonicity and exploring the conundrum of why certain frequencies would ideally form perfect integer ratios with each other, but in reality, they do not. Before Chris returned to school at age 30, he had been working as a guitar teacher, and still teaches guitar while pursuing his undergraduate degree. During his time at UWEC, he has been a tutor in the physics department. Chris will be pursuing a PhD in physics post-graduation and hopes to attend University of Illinois-Chicago.
Chris would like to say thank you to all those who helped him on his journey towards a doctorate.
“When I came back to school as an older student, I never imagined that I would be on the path that I am now, towards pursuing a PhD in physics. Because I am a firm believer in the statement that we are who we are because of our friends, I have to give thanks to the McNair program and all of my professors for all of the encouragement and guidance along the way. I’ve never been more excited about my future than I am right now, and it’s in very large part thanks to my experiences at UWEC and in the UWEC physics department.”
The McNair Program presents the following scholar from the 2021 Cohort 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: Business Administration
Faculty Mentor: Dr. José Alvergue
Alejandra is researching how women of color navigate a predominately white institution, using ethnographic research techniques. The purpose of the research is to gain greater insight on how students adjust to an environment outside their comfort-zone and to apply this knowledge to enhance the experiences of future students who sacrifice their culture while working towards higher education. She is currently the Latinx event planning intern for the Office of Multicultural Affairs where she assists in the planning of events for Latinx Heritage Month and Women’s Heritage Month. After graduation, Alejandra intends to pursue a master’s degree in Higher Education to utilize her personal growth as a tool to help other students of color who are in the position she is in now.