North Texas Daily

McNair Program mentors honored at fall luncheon

McNair Program mentors honored at fall luncheon

McNair Program mentors honored at fall luncheon
September 13
07:31 2013

Margaret Saucedo / Intern

The 21st annual McNair Scholars Program Recognition Luncheon is being held at noon today to honor the current undergraduate’s mentors and exceptional service within the program.

The invite-only affair includes catered lunch by UNT at the Gateway Ballroom followed by an introduction of student’s mentors. The “Friend of McNair” and “Outstanding Service Award” will be given to two university members, and scholars will present their research through poster board.

“These awards go to members of the university who have gone above and beyond their job description,” McNair student advisor Rosa Fonseca said.

The awards remain anonymous until the luncheon.

McNair is a federally-funded program dedicated to furthering undergraduate’s academic degrees. According to the UNT McNair website, the program set a goal to help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Lee Bedford is a psychology senior, Marines veteran and McNair scholar who said the relationship with his mentor is one of the biggest benefits to being in the program.

Bedford says he has in-depth meetings two to three times a week with associate psychology professor Adriel Boals to discuss each other’s research.

Bedford’s research aims to improve assessment measures for post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans.

The luncheon is the time to honor mentors, and anthropology senior Ashley Scott said she would not have made it this far without her mentor’s guidance.

Scott is going straight into the UNT graduate program in fall 2014 after completing her bachelor’s this spring.

Scott, a first generation graduate, didn’t know many people who had completed a Ph.D., but she said she always knew she wanted one.

Searching for a mentor, Scott asked biology professor Rebecca Dickstein, a previous McNair award winner, for help. After much advising, Dickstein offered her an opportunity to join in her research with plant genetics.

In addition to having good grades, Scott said that research matters when it comes to applying for graduate programs and beyond.

“The only thing I want is to help give back,” she said.

Biology senior Marisha Frazier is among the 19 juniors and seniors currently in the McNair program, and said she feels lucky that UNT and McNair care about research and believe in their students.

Frazier’s research is working with the relationship of aquatic insects and sediment size classes in the Texas Trinity River. This study is useful in assessing the health of the watershed according to Frazier’s academic presentation.

“Being a part of McNair comes with responsibility,” Frazier said.

She plans to complete her Ph.D. in the future and contribute to ecotoxicology research.

“You have to persevere, I would say is the theme,” Bedford said. “They [McNair] give you a lot, but they ask a lot from you also. You have to be really serious about wanting a Ph.D.”

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