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UTSA McNair Scholars attend National Research Conference

During the third weekend of February, seven UTSA McNair Scholars attended the Texas National McNair Scholars Research Conference at the University of North Texas. Approximately 175 individuals from more than 25 universities across the country participated in the 18th annual national conference, where undergraduate McNair Scholars presented academic research topics orally and in traditional poster format.

Two McNair Scholars presented their research topics at this year’s conference. Under the direction of Dr. Sue Hum, Senior Julio Villarreal, English major, presented a poster on the topic entitled “Latino Expression in the San Antonian Arts: An Analysis of the Visual Rhetoric in the Works of Arturo Infante Almeida.” Under the direction of Dr. Cynthia Hawkins, Senior Sonie Johnson, English major, presented an oral presentation on her research titled, “Writing Towards Wellness: The Power of Personal Narratives for Survivors of Domestic Violence.”

The two and a half day conference encouraged students to “discover, create and share” about their research interests and encouraged scholarly discourse between students and faculty members. During the opening dinner, students were treated to a keynote address from Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Mariela Nunes-Janes who spoke of her own struggles in academia but shared her passion for helping others. Students also heard from Dr. Tara M. Ruttley, Associate Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) with NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Dr. Ruttley’s speech was well received as she was a former McNair Scholar herself. She shared an inspirational story about her own experiences and how students can achieve their dreams with drive and determination.

Students also participated in a graduate school recruitment fair and break-out sessions with over 40 graduate programs from across the country.

Senior McNair Scholar Sonie Johnson said, “McNair has placed me in a position to advocate for disadvantaged women. As an immigrant woman, I have overcome many obstacles both in the educational system, and my personal life. The keynote speaker, Dr. Ruttley, was an inspiration. Her passion was contagious. I am more determined to obtain my Ph.D in Social Work, regardless of difficult circumstances. The Poster and PowerPoint Presentations offer tremendous insight into the future of research, as well as the impact McNair has on each Scholar and their community.”

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program is located in MS 2.03.14B and is a program under the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives. The McNair Scholars Program offers selected sophomores, juniors and seniors opportunities to participate in faculty-led research and assist with preparation for graduate school and is currently accepting applications for fall 2016.

For more information, visit the UTSA P-20 Initiatives website or contact Darrell Balderrama, Director of Retention Programs, at (210)458-4286.

Laura Rushing

Administrative Associate II

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