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TRIO Day Recognition

In honor of National TRIO Day, the UW – Eau Claire McNair Program would like to celebrate 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.

The UWEC McNair Program would like to recognize some outstanding TRIO students and staff that embody the program’s values and mission.


The McNair Program would like to award Jeremy Miner with the Friend of TRIO Award for his outstanding service on behalf of the TRIO programs and its participants. Jeremy is the Director of Grants and Contracts at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. He has been collaborating with McNair for several years, and he provides workshops on external funding. In attending his workshops, students learn “where to find grants and how government and foundation funding sources are easily accessible compared to individual and corporate funds.”


From the Cohort of 2021, the McNair Program would like to recognize two scholars with the Newcomer Award, Delaney Collins and Tyler Gonzales. The Newcomer Award recognizes students for displaying outstanding academic and leadership potential as a new participant in our program. 

Delaney Collins
Hometown: Green Bay, WI
Major: Psychology and Social Work
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Muehlenkamp
Delaney’s McNair Project is about the university counseling center staff's capability to work with students with schizophrenia. She works as a Suicide Prevention And Research Collaborative (SPARC) Intern and a Peer Research Consultant in the library. In 2018, she gave an oral presentation at CERCA comparing statistics of gun violence between the United States and Japan. Her post-graduation goal is to be accepted into a Clinical Psych Ph.D program and participate in schizophrenia research, then graduate with Ph.D and be a licensed clinical psychologist.

Tyler Gonzales
Hometown: Eagan, MN
Major: Mathematics, Research Emphasis
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Thomas
Tyler’s McNair Project is “Numerical Modeling of Micrometeorites," in which he aims to find ways to mathematically model trajectories of small dust particles from space. He served as Math Club and KME Mathematics Honors Society president during the 2018-2019 academic year, and he works as a Teaching Assistant/Grader for faculty in the math department. He received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2019. Post-graduation, he hopes to pursue a PhD in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Princeton University or a Ph.D in Mathematics at Cornell, and he wants to work either as a professor of mathematics or in national security. 


The McNair Program would like to present the Dedication Award to Kelsey Cramer of the Cohort of 2020. The Dedication Award is given to students that demonstrate great dedication and persistence in their academic work.

Kelsey Cramer
Hometown: Judah, WI
Major: Communication Sciences & Disorders
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Abby Hemmerich
Research Topic: Journal Tracking for Vocal Hygiene Adherence
A recipient of last year’s Newcomer Award, Kelsey has been an instructional intern (TA) for the past two semesters in Communication Sciences and Disorder classes—specifically Voice & Resonance Disorders and Intro to CSD. In addition to her current research project, she also looked at "How the intersection of ethnicity and SES impact the development of social skills in children” for a previous class. She hopes to attend graduate school this fall, where she’d like to go into the medical setting and work with patients who have vocal disorders.


The McNair Program presents the following scholars with the Pacesetter Award. This award recognizes students who exhibit superior leadership by extensive involvement and outstanding service to their school, community, or profession.

David Edwardson
Hometown: Stanley, WI
Major: Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jack Tan
Research Topic: A Data Mining Approach for the Generation of Nonpartisan Political Districts
David served as Student Organization President for both NextGen America and the American Civil Liberties Union. Most of his work for these positions has been focused around youth voter engagement through voter registration, engaging students in issues such as racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and overall student rights on campus, and organizing the community to make progressive change. He also volunteered as a coordinating lead for the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, which participates in domestic immersion trips twice a year to highlight the history of the non-violent aspect of the past and modern-day civil rights movements. Upon graduation, David has accepted a position with Menards Inc in Eau Claire as an IS Data Warehouse Developer. 

Miko Scott
Hometown: Brooklyn Park, MN
Major: Applied Statistics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. aBa Mbirika
Research Topic: Properties of the Fibonacci Sequence Modulo 10 and Extensions to Other Moduli
Miko serves as President of Black Student Alliance, where she organizes educational, foundational, and fun and exciting events for the black community and others to participate in. She is also the founder of Black Women Connect, an organization for the black women on campus to communicate and grow together as a strong force of power. She hopes to graduate in May 2020. Post graduation, she wants to pursue an online Masters of Data Science, participate in another research project, and later find a company who will support her in pursuing her PhD in Statistics or Biomedical Engineering.

Vincent Segovia
Hometown: Elroy, WI
Major:  English: Creative Writing, Theater
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joel Pace & Dr. Bob Nowlan
Research Topic: "Jacket: A Novel" - a fictional narrative of a Hispanic American returning from active duty in the US Army into civilian life
Vincent works as the Social Justice Intern at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Much of his work is concentrated in reforming policies in the Blugold Handbook, preparations in the Tier 1 training, and informing students involved in OMA of changes to EDI at the university. He intends on graduating at the end of the 2020 Fall semester. During the Fall semester, he will be applying to eleven different Creative Writing MFA programs, of which at least five colleges on the list include a Ph.D in this field. He hopes to continue publishing poems and create a musical deconstructing Fascism in the 21st Century.

Maria Villa-Rivera
Hometown: Kiel, WI
Major: English Critical Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Teresa Kemp
Research Topic:  The Power of a Name: Exploring how the pronunciation of one's name effects their cultural ties
Maria interns in the Office of Multicultural Affairs as the Latinx Event Planning Intern. She works closely with university staff and the Latinx Student Association to develop programming that highlights the Latin population on campus. This year the OMA has doubled their events and programming for Latin students and secured a Latinx Cultural Space in the Hibbard Penthouse. They also worked with other multicultural organizations to bring together underrepresented communities on campus in solidarity. Maria plans on graduating in May of 2021.

Victoria Vu
Hometown: Brooklyn Center, MN
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kao Nou Moua
Research Topic: Understanding barriers and stigmas Hmong individuals with disabilities experience within the Hmong and wider communities
Victoria served as secretary on the executive board for Hmong Student Alliance, where she was heavily involved in running the organization. She was also a part of Blugold Beginnings as an intern and mentor. Through these organizations, she learned skills in connecting and working with others, stepped out of her comfort zone to take up other leadership roles, and impacted her community through her continual involvement and support. She is to graduate this May 2020, and her future plans are to take a gap year to gain more experience within the field of social work and then go to graduate school.  


The McNair Program would like to recognize Stephanus Badenhorst 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.  

Stephanus Badenhorst
Hometown: Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Major: Psychology with emphasis in Behavior Analysis
Faculty Mentor: Dr. April Bleske-Rechek
Research Topic: Operationalizing the Ambiguous Term Microaggressions
Stephanus is an SSA for the class Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology, where he also conducts research with Dr. April Bleske-Rechek on the Individual Perceptions of other words. He also works at John and Fay Menard Tennis Center, teaching individual and group lessons as a USPTA certified tennis professional. He is the research assistant at the Academic Intervention Clinic and has presented at NASP National Convention. He plans to graduate May 2020, earn his Masters in School Psychology (Education Specialist) from the University of Minnesota, and continue to seek opportunities to aid TRIO programs.

Stephanus would like to share this message with future TRIO scholars:

“My time at Eau Claire has been one to remember. The journey from freshman year to now has not been without its challenges, but I have had plenty of resources to guide my way along the journey. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, which makes each of us individually unique. One of my biggest take-aways from my journey is that everyone has their own way of learning and solving problems. The challenge we all face, and I face, is how we can use what we have learned and what we know our strengths and weaknesses are and put forth our best effort to manipulate these to become academically successful. My best advice and something that has helped me is to take care of yourself first, make sure you are doing what you need to do to be successful. A big thank you to Dr. Kelly Wonder, Dr. Ka Vang, Dr. Kevin Klatt, Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, and Dr. Melissa Coolong-Chaffin for their support and guidance throughout my journey at Eau Claire.”