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College of Human Ecology

K-State McNair Scholars to present results of summer research

Monday, July 23, 2007

MANHATTAN -- Their topics range from expatriate Indian fiction to oxygen uptake in athletes, but the undergraduates participating in this summer's McNair Scholars program at Kansas State University all have learned the same thing: how to apply the tools of research.

The students will present their findings at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research in Chalmers Hall. Each student will speak for about 10 minutes, with five minutes for questions afterward.

"Many of their projects will still be incomplete," said Jon Tveite, a writing skills specialist with K-State's educational and personal development programs, which administers the McNair program. "But they will present the background, their methods and whatever findings they have to date. It is always impressive to see how much they have learned over the summer, the level of mastery they demonstrate over difficult topics."

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, prepares academically talented undergraduates to succeed in graduate study. Its main goal is to help students earn doctoral degrees in their chosen fields. K-State is host to one of more than 170 McNair programs in the United States and U.S. territories.

At K-State each of the scholars conducts research under the supervision of a faculty mentor. During the summer they meet regularly with their mentors, as well as with McNair program staff and fellow scholars, to learn about research and other issues related to graduate education. They will present their research at academic conferences during the next school year.

Scholars also prepare for the Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test used by most graduate programs in the admissions process. Scholars will have the opportunity to visit graduate schools of their choice and will receive assistance from McNair staff in applying to graduate programs.

K-State's McNair Scholars, their research and their faculty mentor include:

Ben Gurtler, senior in chemical engineering, Beattie, Reverse osmosis as a method for removing carbon from seawater, which will be submitted for publication. His faculty mentor is Peter Pfromm, professor of chemical engineering.

Sarah Trabert, senior in anthropology and history, Dodge City, Classifying 183 ceramic sherds excavated from a site in Leavenworth County inhabited by prehistoric Central Plains people believed to be part of the Steed-Kisker cultural tradition around A.D. 950-1400. Results will be submitted for publication. Her faculty mentor is Brad Logan, research associate professor of anthropology.

Sammy Ornelas, senior in kinesiology and premedicine, Garden City, The differences in oxygen uptake efficiency between sprinters and endurance athletes as measured in trials on a cycle ergometer. Results will be submitted for publication. His faculty mentor is Thomas Barstow, professor and head of the department of kinesiology.

Katie Clowers, junior in biology, Macksville, The genetic basis for tolerance of cold temperatures in fruit flies, with implications for understanding species evolution and migration. Her faculty mentor is Theodore Morgan, assistant professor of biology.

Ashley Wheeler, senior in mathematics and physics, Manhattan, The symplectic topology of Hamiltonian systems with one degree of freedom. Her faculty mentor is Ricardo Castano-Bernard, assistant professor of mathematics.

Kyrie Graves, senior in family studies and human services, Topeka, The effects of governmental subsidies and demographic data on the quality of child care delivered by non-parental relatives. Her faculty mentor is Bronwyn Fees, associate professor of family studies and human services.

Clinton Medovich, senior in political science, Topeka, The nature and purpose of law as described by St. Thomas Aquinas in his "Summa Theologica." His faculty mentor is Laurie Bagby, associate professor of political science.

Elise Gaines, junior in English and pre-law, Wichita, A critical study of expatriate Indian writer Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, especially her collection of short stories, "Arranged Marriage." Her faculty mentor is Lisa Tatonetti, assistant professor of English.

Marisela Gutierrez, senior in psychology, Killeen, Texas, The psychological literature on commonalities between autism and psychopathologies such as antisocial personality disorder. Her faculty mentor is Rupert Klein, assistant professor of psychology.

Source: Jon Tveite, 785-532-5359, jontv@k-state.edu
Note to editors: Marisela Gutierrez and Ashley Wheeler are both graduates of Junction City High School, and Sammy Ornelas is a graduate of Sublette High School.
News release prepared by: Andy Badeker, 785-532-6415, abadeker@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Monday, July 23, 2007, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.