UD McNair Scholar Chau Nguyen presents neuroscience research to UD staff during the poster competition.

Outstanding research scholars

Five honored as UD McNair Scholars Program hosts research competition


2:04 p.m., Oct. 27, 2014--The McNair Scholars Program at the University of Delaware hosted its 12th annual research competition and graduate school fair on Oct. 9 as an education and outreach event for participating scholars and prospective graduate students.

Over the past two years, the number of active McNair programs on the East Coast has decreased due to federal funding cuts, but UD’s program has continued on in the face of budget adversity. UD recently was notified that grant awards for 2015 would increase to replace budget cuts made during the sequester, according to Kimberly Saunders, director of UD’s McNair program.

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“This restored additional funding will allow UD’s McNair program to bring back our National McNair Research Conference in fall 2015, and we plan to expand the target student population beyond McNair Scholars to include first-generation, low-income and underrepresented undergraduate researchers from various national programs,” Saunders said.

The recent graduate school fair, open to the public, featured 82 graduate program exhibitors from across the region and beyond. Two research poster competition sessions also were held, featuring 30 student presenters from UD and surrounding colleges. 

Getting to see other students’ research and hearing the comments of the judges and the audience benefited Thanh Nguyen, a student from Delaware Technical Community College. 

“Thank you so much for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to present at the conference and to talk with graduate program representatives,” Nguyen said. “I am looking forward to presenting again next year.”

The following students were selected to receive awards and shared a $1,000 cash prize:

Social Science

  • Gabrielle Green, University of Delaware — “The Comparative Analysis of the Recidivism Rates in Female Offenders.”
  • Melany Justice, University of Delaware — “Parent Racial Identity and Threats to Student Performance.”
  • Kemol Anderson, University of Maryland — “The Role of Personality, Basic Financial Needs, Gender and Race on Job Attraction among College Students.”


  • Kimberly Milla, University of Delaware — “Reduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Processing Time for the Assessment of Leg Muscle Volume in Children with Cerebral Palsy.”
  • Steven Smith, University of Delaware/Delaware Tech — “Assembly-Based Metrics of Abundance in Shotgun Metagenomes May Provide Inaccurate Estimates of Community Structure.” 

Prior to the graduate school fair and poster competition, prospective graduate students from Southern Illinois University, the University of Maryland, Rider University, Bloomfield College and UD attended the Graduate School Visitation Day sponsored by the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.

Additionally, a UD McNair Scholar interest/information session welcomed 35 current UD undergraduates who are excited to be considered for selection into the 2015 UD McNair cohort.

UD is home to one of 152 TRIO/McNair programs nationwide. More than 80 percent of the University’s McNair Scholars enroll in graduate school immediately after bachelor’s degree attainment, continuing their studies all the way through the doctoral degree.

The annual graduate school fair successfully connects students to various graduate school opportunities. The McNair office looks forward to providing the fair to the community and an expanded array of research conference participants in 2015, Saunders said.

Photos by Evan Krape

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