Undergraduate Research Celebrated at 2019 McNair Day

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Island University’s McNair Scholars Program hosted McNair Day on April 18 to recognize McNair Scholars who conducted research in spring/summer 2018 in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, physicist and NASA astronaut who lost his life in the Challenger space shuttle accident in 1986.

The McNair Scholars Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi provides premier higher learning experiences such as opportunities in research, attending national academic conferences and other scholarly activities to low-income, first-generation, and under-represented undergraduate students. Students chosen as McNair Scholars often pursue doctoral degrees in highly-competitive programs.

“I’m very proud of our McNair Scholars, they exemplify the best quality of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students,” said Dr. Patricia Spaniol Mathews, Executive Director for the McNair Scholars Program. “Their research is the highest level and is well received among the academic community.”

McNair Day included a recognition luncheon with keynote addresses by Mariah Clay, senior kinesiology student and McNair Scholar; and Dr. Dorina Murgulet, Associate Professor of Hydrogeology and McNair Faculty Mentor. Poster presentations preceded the luncheon.

“Our final presentation for McNair Day solidified a sense of camaraderie between me and my McNair peers by sharing our stories of stress and success,” said Alisha Cowan, psychology major and McNair Scholar. “As scholars, we differ in our fields of interest, but we all share greater levels of professionalism and accomplishment to utilize in our future endeavors provided by the McNair program at A&M-Corpus Christi.”

Thirteen McNair Scholars presented the following poster presentations:

  • Mariya Aleksich: “NMR Investigation and Characterization of Leucine-Based Surfactants Bound to Various Counterions.” Her mentor is Dr. Eugene Billiot.
  • Micah Bachner: “Using Landmark Morphometrics to Detect Fishery-Induced Evolution in Response to Varying Human Population Density.” His mentor is Dr. Chris Bird.
  • LarReshia Brumfield: “Reproducibility of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Characterizing the Virulence Gene vcgC in Known and Unknown Vibrio vulnificus isolates from the Coastal Bend Region of Texas.” Her mentor is Dr. Gregory Buck.
  • Clay Clarkson: “Quantifying the Relationship between Methane Concentration and mcrA Genes of a Cultured Surface Sediment Methanolobus spp.” His mentor is Dr. Brandi Reese.
  • Mariah Clay: “The Relationship between the Convergence, Divergence, Recognition, Tracking Skills Response Time, and Reading Achievement of Elementary School Students.” Her mentor is Dr. Frank Spaniol.
  • Alisha Cowan: “I Got You Covered: Couple-Serving Biases as Predictors of Relationship Satisfaction.” Her mentor is Dr. Steve Seidel.
  • Andrew Garcia: “Digital Switchable Magnet as a Power Efficient Alternative for Electromagnets in a Mobile Robotic System.” His mentor is Dr. Ruby Mehrubeoglu.
  • Kathrin Gibson: “Thinspiration and Fitspiration Effects on Body Satisfaction and Motivation to Diet and Exercise.” Her mentor is Dr. Yuliana Zaikman.
  • Tony Long: “The Effects of Group Empowerment Drumming on State Anxiety in Selected Populations.” His mentor is Dr. Lon Seiger.
  • Michael Martinez: “The Effects of Static Magnetic Fields on the Effect in Conductors.” His mentor is Dr. Cosmina Nicula.
  • Arriana McDonald: “Salivary Cortisol and Testosterone Responses to a Farmers Walk.” Her mentor is Dr. Heather Webb.
  • Doina Morales: “Image Processing for Mapping of Controlled Game Environment.” Her mentor is Dr. Ruby Mehrubeoglu.
  • Ashley Rodriguez: “The Reverse Double Standard among Relationships with a Power Disparity.” Her mentor is Dr. Yuliana Zaikman.