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McNair Scholars of Bloomfield College Present Findings at Symposium

By Alicia Cook

On Thursday, October 19, Bloomfield College held its annual McNair Research Symposium in the Library. Eight McNair Scholars presented their findings to members of the Bloomfield College community and their peers.

The day also honored the birthday of the Program’s namesake, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the second African-American astronaut to fly into space who tragically lost his life on January 28, 1986 when the Challenger space shuttle exploded.

The McNair Scholars Program, also known as the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, has been a part of Bloomfield College for eight years.

The program helps to place students in undergraduate research summer programs, with students being expected to present their findings at conferences nationwide. The program also assists students with graduate program visits, networking with faculty, personal statement seminars and applications to graduate school. The overall mission of the McNair project is for its participants to complete doctoral degrees and serve as professors to help diversify the academy.

“The McNair Research Symposium was a fantastic display of the kind of in-depth research our students do through the McNair Program. As a faculty member, I'm delighted to see the considerable growth of McNair research opportunities under Beverly Fields and Nkem Ukwu,” stated Dr. Laura Warren Hill, Associate Professor of History. “The hard work of the McNair staff and the students are evident in symposiums such as this."

Assisted by Dr. Audrey Redding-Raines (Rutgers University-Newark), Abisola Adewolu ’18 presented “Unfavorable Yet Avertable Asthma Disparities Among African-American Children.”

“Presenting the summer research that I conducted was such an extraordinary and satisfying experience. All of my hard work and dedication were perfectly executed,” said Adewolu, who is also president of the Bloomfield College Student Government.

Gabriella Alonge ’18 was mentored by Dr. Martin Wiedmann (Cornell University) and presented “Identifications of Essential Genes in Listeria Monocytogenes.”

Jahvon Brown ’18, whose mentor was Dr. Jermaine Monk (City University of New York-Lehman College), presented “Improving Academic Achievement Among Black Males.”

Amanda Faison ’18 presented “The Link Between Daily Stressors and Maternal Depression Within Low Income Sample” and was assisted by Dr. Christopher Monk (University of Michigan).

Aaliyah Joy Jones ’19 was mentored by Dr. Jermaine Monk (City University of New York-Lehman College), and presented “Why Do Children Quantify Negative Behavior?”

“Doing all the work prepares you for graduate school. One key thing I learned regarding research is editing will become your best friend. In the long run, it builds your character and makes you stronger,” reflected Jones.

Assisted by Dr. Jermaine Monk (City University of New York-Lehman College), Leslie Jones ’19 presented “Are Prescription Drugs a Gateway to Heroin Addiction?”

“The McNair Scholars Program has opened many doors for me. I would like to pursue further research and keep striving for greatness,” said Jones.

Elizabeth Lighty ’18, whose mentor was Dr. Audrey Redding-Raines (Rutgers University-Newark), presented “The Impact of Co-Occurring Disorders Among African-American Women.”

Mariah Nelson ’18 whose mentor was Dr. Victor Rios (University of California, Santa Barbara), presented “How Does Policing Impact Collective Efficacy?”

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.