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2020 McNair Research Award Winners

Photo of the first place winner

September 22, 2020

The McNair Scholars Program, which prepares students from disadvantaged backgrounds for graduate school through research and other scholarly activities, has announced its 2020 McNair Research Award winners.

During students' first year in the program, students concentrate on completing independent research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The project culminates in oral presentation at a national conference and preparation of a manuscript for publication. For the research competition, a blind review panel of non-McNair faculty and staff members evaluates each project for excellence in scholarship and written presentation of the research.

Recipients of this year's McNair Research Awards:

  • First place ($1,000 scholarship): Olivia Bobbitt, "Stages of Racial Identity Development Among Multiracial Undergraduates," mentored by Clifford Leek, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Sociology (image at top of page)
  • Second place ($600 scholarship): Yessica Berumen Martinez, "Assessing LatinX Colorism and Skin Tone Dating Preferences," mentored by Kyle Anne Nelson, Ph.D., the chair of and a professor of Sociology

  • Third place ($400 scholarship): Theresa Schwartz, "Determining Dietary Niche in Primates Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence," mentored by Marian Hamilton, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Anthropology

  • Honorable mention ($200 scholarship): Andrea White, "How the Chameleon Effect Impacts Introverted and Extraverted in Social and Academic Settings," mentored by Cassendra Bergstrom, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Psychological Sciences

Second and third place winners of mcnair research
Above: Yessica Berumen Martinez (top) and Theresa Schwartz (bottom) stand with McNair Instructor and Advisor Pepper Mueller after receiving their awards.

  • Honorable mention ($200 scholarship): Yessica Rodriguez, "Quantification of Male and Female Feather Temperature in Relation to Color in American Robins (Turdus Migratorius)," mentored by Lauryn Benedict, Ph.D., the associate director and a professor of Biological Sciences, and Karina Sanchez, a Biological Sciences graduate student.

About the McNair Scholars Program at UNC

The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program is a federal TRIO program designed to provide undergraduate students with effective preparation for graduate-level study through research and scholarly activities, summer internships, seminars and workshops, mentoring and assistance with graduate school admission processes. McNair participants have demonostrated strong, academic potential and are either first-generation college students with financial needs, or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate education.

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