Five McNair Scholars Present Their Research at a National Conference

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Five McNair Scholars from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi presented their undergraduate research findings at the 20th annual McNair Scholars Undergraduate National Research Conference held March 14-17 at the University of Maryland in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. 

McNair Scholars Program participants are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have demonstrated strong academic potential. Institutions work closely with participants as they complete their undergraduate requirements, encourage participants to enroll in graduate programs, and track their progress through to the successful completion of advanced degrees. The goal of the federal program is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students who presented their research were:

  • LarReshia Brumfield, a senior biomedical science student: “Characterization of Vibrio Vulnificus Isolates from the Coastal Bend Region using Virulence Factors”
  • Mariah Clay, a senior kinesiology student: “The Relationship between Convergence, Divergence, Recognition, Tracking Skills and Reading Comprehension of Elementary School Students”
  • Andrew Garcia, a senior electrical engineering student: “Switchable Magnets as a Power-Efficient Alternative for Electromagnets in a Mobile Robotic System”
  • Tony Long, a senior psychology student: “The Effects of Group Empowerment Drumming on State Anxiety in Selected Populations”
  • Doina Morales, a senior electrical engineering student: “Autonomous Mapping of Controlled Game Environment Matrix Utilizing Point Comparison of Real and Ideal Image Regions”

 Clay, a senior kinesiology student, said the conference is an event that she won’t forget. 

“My experience at the McNair Annual Conference in Maryland was one that I will remember for a lifetime. I was able communicate with other scholars from around the Unites States and learn about their personal research and goals. Like me, I discovered that we were all one in the same, and this realization created a deeper appreciation for this program and the people that make it happen.”

Clay said she gained valuable insight via feedback on her skills as a presenter and writer.

“I was able to present my project along with other scholars and interact with other professors and doctors from across the country,” Clay said. “I heard speeches from McNair alumni and of their successes throughout their life and how they dealt with hardships and trials on their path. They not only gave me their stories, but they offered me patience, persistence, power, and practice to become the best person I can and want to be.”

The conference provided an opportunity for scholars to present their academic research in a professional environment while networking with other McNair scholars across the nation. 

“The National McNair Conference at the University of Maryland provided many opportunities for me including networking and presenting my research,” Brumfield said. “I related to other McNair Scholars, McNair alumni, and other professionals who attended the conference. Those individuals gave me an understanding of what it takes to get through my undergraduate career, graduate school, and my professional career.”

The McNair Scholars Program honors the memory and achievement of the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and NASA astronaut who lost his life in the Challenger space shuttle accident in 1986. Through a federal grant competition, A&M-Corpus Christi was awarded funds to implement the McNair Scholars Program in 2007 and continues to be awarded funds every five years to prepare 30 eligible participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.