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Eleven students have been selected as McNair Scholars at St. Lawrence for the summer of 2006, enabling each to conduct research with a faculty mentor.

St. Lawrence was awarded a grant in 2003 through the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Award Program, which is aimed at encouraging students in underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral studies and is one of the U.S. Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs. Named for Astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the program was launched in 1989 and exists at more than 150 colleges and universities across the country. St. Lawrence's McNair Program, titled "Exploration, Nurturing and Commitment to Excellence on the Way to the Ph.D.," is designed to increase the number of talented students from under-represented groups in continuing their education, with the goal of achieving the doctoral degree. Among the groups considered underrepresented in doctoral programs are African Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans; and those from economically disadvantaged families who are first-generation college students. The St. Lawrence McNair Program will encourage the pursuit of graduate study leading to the Ph.D. by involving students in multiple research-intensive experiences and extensive advising by faculty mentors. In addition, students named McNair Scholars receive grant-funded stipends for their research work and increased opportunities to visit graduate schools and attend professional conferences, among other benefits.


The Scholars, their faculty mentors, and descriptions of their projects and campus activities as possible, are:

Henrietta (Rita) Asiedu '07, of Bronx, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Assistant Professor of English Mary Hussmann

Majors: English and minor in government

Project: ‘Black and Jewish Alliance during the Civil Rights Movement’

Campus Activities: Rita Asidieu was born in Ghana and brought up in New York City. Rita has been an events organizer for Black Students’ Union, a HEOP mentor, an admissions tour guide, performed in the Dance Ensemble, and sang for Gospel Choir. Rita studied in London for a semester in 2006.

After graduation: Rita is looking into law schools or graduate programs in African studies.

Jessa Davis '08, of Canton, NY
Faculty Sponsor: Assistant Professor of Biology Aswini Pai

Majors: Biology and Anthropology

Project: Jessa researched on ‘A Comparative Analysis of African and Asian Health Care Practices in relation to Malaria’

Campus Activities: McNair Scholars program, international study in Kenya in Fall 2005, Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field, the Class Council, and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program.

After graduation: She plans to attend graduate school in California, Florida or Hawaii for medical ecology and/or ethno pharmacology.

(Photo Not Available)
Crystal Fuerte '07, of Bronx, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Associate Professor of English Robert Cowser

Axel Galeano '07, of Woodhaven, NY

Faculty Sponsors: Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Languages Jenna Torres and Assistant Professor of History Evelyn Jennings

Candina Harmer '07, of Phoenix, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Associate Professor of Sociology Patrice LeClerc

Major: Biology

Project: The history of medicine and rise of female physicians. It featured influential women like Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, Alice Hamilton, Rebecca Cole and Rebecca Crumpler. She appreciates how at St. Lawrence “professors give students the ability to be themselves not only in their class work, but outside of it as well.”

Campus Activities: Her activities on campus include Laurentian Singers, SLU Buddies and Gospel Choir.

After graduation: Candina wants to get a degree as a physician’s assistant and eventually in public health in the area of epidemiology.

Darrell Hemsley '08, of Landover Hills, MD

Faculty Sponsor: Associate Professor of Performance and Communications Arts Kirk Fuoss

Majors: English Writing, Performance and Communications

Project: ‘Cluster Criticism Reveals: Phyllis Hyman’s Lyrical Angels and Demons’. He examined late R&B singer Phyllis Hyman’s lyrics; applying cluster criticism focusing on lyrics of original compositions, suspecting that they would shed insight into the depression from which Hyman suffered and which ultimately led to her suicide.

Campus Activities: Darrell has worked for ACE, Black Students’ Association and as a poetry editor for the Laurentian Magazine. He is planning to study in London in Fall 2007.

After graduation: Darrell hopes to earn a master's in screen writing.

Marlise Hernandez '08, of Manchester, NH

Faculty Sponsor: Professor of Anthropology Alice Pomponio

Major: Anthropology

Project: Marlise studied the concepts of illness and wellness amongst the indigenous groups of the Caribbean using medical anthropology.

Activities on campus: Assistant Director of St. Lawrence University's Emergency Medical Service, vice-president of the Anthropology Club, member of the Swingin' Saints, Canton Fire and Rescue, and the International House.

After-graduation plans: Graduate school for medical anthropology

Jana Morgan '07, of Sackets Harbor, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Assistant Professor of Global Studies John Collins

Major: Government

Project: The connection between diamond trade in Sierra Leone and the human rights violations that occurred there and how diamond companies made their consumers complicity by ignoring the country’s state

Campus Activiries: Jana has been around the world- Austria, India and China through St. Lawrence’s international programs. A member of the Thelomathesian Society, Omicron Delta Kappa and Red Dogs Rugby team

After graduation: Jana is looking into graduate programs in International Relations and eventually hopes to get a doctorate degree.

Steve Peraza '07, of New York, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Regosin

Majors: History and Sociology

Project: Steve continued his over three-year long project this summer and produced “Resolving the Religious and the Political: Jeffrey Campbell’s Ministry: Unitarian Universalist Society at Amherst, 1967-1974.” He discusses Campbell’s attempts to affect sociopolitical change as a function of religious activism.

Campus Activities: Steve credits Bill Short for recruiting him for Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and enabling him to attend SLU. Steve’s campus activities include co-founding Ray Ross House, columnist for Hill News, Hip Hop and Beyond, Black Student Union, Latino Multicultural Alliance, panel discussions and talent shows.

After graduation: As a McNair scholar , He plans to earn a doctorate degree and teach at college level- perhaps at SLU as a Jeffrey Campbell Fellow! “Nothing would fulfill me the way a career in education would,” Steve concedes.

Sahiry Rodriguez '07, of New York, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Associate Professor of Sociology Ronald Flores

Majors: Philosophy and Government

Project: Born in Dominican Republic, Sahiry’s summer research was on Dominican’s self-identification in the US and their segmented assimilation-“in particular how Dominicans of noticeable African ancestry come to terms with their blackness in the US”. For Sahiry, this research has involved personal growth-“It has helped me find a better way to identify myself-not losing my Dominican side but accepting my African ancestry.”

Campus Activities: Community assistant, tutor for government and philosophy, SLU Buddies and HEOP mentor.

After graduation
: She plans on getting a doctorate degree in philosophy and Juris doctor degree and eventually teach.

Michael Seaman '08, of Lake George, NY

Faculty Sponsor: Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Matthew Skeels

Federal TRIO Programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (initially just three programs). While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

More information: St. Lawrence University's McNair Scholars Program Web Site

Posted: June 22, 2006

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