McNair Summer Research: A Look Back

Berkeley 2007

During the ten-week 2007 McNair Summer Research Program, Scholars conducted research projects under the direction of their mentors. Through their summer research, Scholars developed critical research skills, gathered and analyzed data, drew conclusions based on empirical evidence and prepared a scholarly research paper.

In addition, Scholars gathered every week for continued research training and preparation for graduate school. A session on the fundamentals of research writing focused on developing an outline, writing an abstract and the importance of readability. Scholars drafted their personal statements and gave constructive feedback to each other.

After completing a practice GRE exam, Scholars assessed their strengths and areas for improvement, then worked in small groups to develop specific strategies for improving their scores. Additional GRE prep exercises involved “word of day” and math tutoring sessions.

Advanced doctoral students Cory Strope (Computer Science & Engineering), Toni Hill-Menson (Child, Youth and Family Studies) and Jen Everson (Mathematics) shared their tips for success in graduate school, while J.D. Burton (Physics), Amy Lehman (Mechanical Engineering) and Raychelle Burks (Chemistry) showed Scholars how to construct effective poster presentations.

UNL Summer Research Colloquium
By the end of the Summer Research Experience, Scholars were ready to present their research at the UNL McNair Summer Research Colloquium on Aug. 1 in the City Campus Union.

In preparation for this event, Dr. Rick Lombardo conducted a session on effective research presentations. Scholars learned strategies for developing and delivering an effective presentation, including tips on understanding the audience needs and ways to anticipate questions and effectively share information about their research. PowerPoint work sessions were held to assist Scholars in the development of their posters and PowerPoint presentations.

Each Scholar developed an oral presentation, wrote a research paper and constructed a research poster, all based on his/her research project.

Participants presented the results of their summer research to their peers, UNL faculty, graduate mentors and advisers. The colloquium opened with a poster session, which offered the students an opportunity to explain their research to interested individuals. The poster session was followed by oral presentation sessions, which took place in three separate rooms.

Moderators for the oral presentations were Tadiyos Gebre, Electrical Engineering graduate student and McNair scholar (2004-2006); Azure Wall, Women’s and Gender Studies major and McNair scholar (2005-2007); and Amy Castro, Sociology major and McNair scholar (2005-2008).

Annual McNair Scholars Symposium The ten senior scholars traveled to California to present their research at the McNair “capstone” event, the annual California McNair Scholars Symposium at the University of California Berkeley, Aug. 8-12.

Abby Visty, a student of mechanical engineering, highlighted her research in a plenary session of approximately 200 students (read more here).

Emily Haferbier, sociology major, offers her thoughts about the Berkeley conference here.

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