Sixteen undergraduate students at West Virginia University will receive mentor guidance, research opportunities and financial assistance as part of WVU’s Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

The 2010 scholars will be given a $2,500 annual stipend, graduate school placement assistance and professional development opportunities to help them gain admission into masters and doctoral programs.

The 2010 McNair Scholars are Candice Arnwine, a psychology major from Charles Town; Renee Conneway, a horticulture major from Augusta; Shawn Douglass, a multidisciplinary studies major from Baltimore, Md.; Melinda Evick, a biology major from Wheeling; Simin Falsafi, a pre-chemistry major from Morgantown; Jacob Felton, an environmental geoscience major from Morgantown; Tahrea Flemming, a social work major from Rochester, N.Y. ; Namratha Gudemaranahalli, a psychology and biology major from Powell, Ohio; Michele Kelly, a secondary education and English major from Morgantown; Ashtin Larkin, a criminology major from Cerritos, Calif.; Erica McDermott, an animal science and nutrition major from New York; Adil Moghal, a biology major from Parkersburg; Sherline Montoute, a psychology major from Salem; Hellen Nditsi, a psychology major from Little Ferry, N.J.; Samantha Silvia, a pre-criminology major from Union City, N.J.; and Joseph Yaworski, a computer science and biometric systems major from Weirton.

“The McNair Scholars Program is extraordinary and life-changing for all involved,” said Betty Mei, assistant director of the WVU McNair Scholars Program. “The McNair family would be glad to know the kind of impact this program has on underrepresented students. I am looking forward to working with the 11th group of WVU McNair Scholars this summer.”

The 2010 scholars will participate in a McNair Summer Research Internship from May 17 to June 25. In July, the scholars will also participate in graduate school campus visits and attend a national McNair conference, where second-year scholars will present their research.

Of the McNair Scholar alumni, two have obtained doctorates and several are expected to graduate in August or December; 22 are enrolled in master’s programs; and 21 are enrolled in doctoral programs.

The McNair Scholars Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education in honor of engineer, scientist and NASA astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who was killed in the 1986 Challenger explosion.

The program is designed to help low-income, first-generation or underrepresented college students earn doctoral degrees. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to travel to graduate schools across the nation, where they can meet with a variety of faculty members.

To be eligible for the McNair Scholars Program, low-income, first-generation or underrepresented students must have completed their sophomore year of study, be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program full-time, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

For more information on the WVU McNair Scholars Program, go to



CONTACT: Betty Mei, McNair Scholars Program