The 2015 class of West Virginia University McNair Scholars proves that hard work and determination pay off.

This year’s cohort was chosen from a highly-select pool of candidates. These students represent a diverse range of backgrounds and areas of interest, from international studies to mechanical engineering. However, they all have one thing in common: the desire to excel regardless of obstacles.

A federally-funded TRIO program, McNair Scholars helps high-achieving first-generation and underrepresented students prepare for graduate school. McNair serves students through financial assistance, academic guidance and counseling and undergraduate research opportunities.

The scholars each will receive a $2,400 annual stipend, graduate school placement assistance and professional development opportunities to help them gain admission into graduate programs.

“This is the 16th cohort of WVU McNair Scholars with whom I’ve worked,” says Dr. Betty Mei, the director for the McNair Scholars Program. “It’s an honor for me to be working with these rising academic stars.

The scholars are now in the midst of their summer internship classes, which will wrap up on June 26. After their intensive internship, they will attend the SUNY Buffalo Undergraduate Research Conference in July, and also get to see Niagara Falls while there. They will continue to conduct their proposed research with WVU faculty mentors during the 2015-2016 academic year.

“As our fifth week of the summer comes to a close, I want to thank the McNair program for supplying us with so many research tools,” says new scholar Samantha Shimer. “I have learned so much this summer, and am endlessly grateful to have been given this opportunity.”

The 2015 McNair Scholars are:

Kevin Acquah, a petroleum and natural gas engineering major from Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Hanah Conlan, a psychology major from Surry, N.H.

Rebecca Hagedorn, a human nutrition and foods major from Bruceton Mills, W.Va.

Collin Hinton, a biology major from Ellenboro, W.Va.

Elizabeth Janeiro, a sport and exercise psychology major from Ashburn, Va.

Roger Jennette, an anthropology major from Wheeling, W.Va.

Jamea Kidrick, an animal and nutritional sciences major from Martinsburg, W.Va.

Kelsey McCoy, a psychology major from Lewisburg, W.Va.

Courtney McDonald, a psychology major from Inwood, W.Va.

Bobby Moore, a multidisciplinary studies major from Pomona, Calif.

Ryan North, a mechanical engineering major from Herndon, Va.

Lauren Pizzurro, a multidisciplinary studies major from New Manchester, W.Va.

Samantha Shimer, an international studies major from Parkersburg, W.Va.

Regan Summers, a psychology major from Elkview, W.Va.

Nicole Young, a sport and exercise psychology major from New Castle, Pa.

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 came to WVU in 1999. Since its inception, the McNair Scholars program has served more than 190 students, with a 90 percent retention rate and an 80 percent post-baccalaureate enrollment rate.

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CONTACT: Betty Mei, Ed.D.Program Director, McNair Scholars Program

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