The McNair Scholars Program at West Virginia University has chosen its new cohort of students for the 2016 class.

These 16 students come from a variety of backgrounds and are a part of wide range of degree programs. From psychology to immunology, anthropology to chemistry, this group of hardworking, determined scholars are eager to take the next step towards post-graduate education.

“I am incredibly proud of the new group of scholars,” says Betty Mei, director of the McNair Scholars Program. “They each have amazing potential and I am looking forward to working with them throughout the coming year.”

A TRIO program that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, McNair Scholars helps high-achieving first-generation and underrepresented students prepare for graduate school. McNair serves students through mentorship, academic guidance and undergraduate research opportunities. The scholars also receive a $2,400 annual stipend as well as graduate school placement assistance.

“I congratulate these talented students on their admittance into the McNair Scholars Program,” says Sue Day-Perroots, associate provost of undergraduate education. “I know that this program will play an instrumental role in their academic careers and am excited to see the research they conduct.”

Day-Perroots notes that the McNair Scholars Program is one of the most successful of its kind.

“Dr. Mei’s passion and dedication for the students is the foundation of this program and the reason why WVU’s McNair Scholars boasts a 90 percent retention rate,” she adds.

The 2016 McNair Scholars are:

  • Shelby Boggs, a psychology from Shippensburg, Pa.
  • Deja Clement, a psychology major from New Paltz, N.Y.
  • Adam Cruz, an anthropology major from Clarksburg, W.Va.
  • April Highlander, a psychology major from Union, W.Va.
  • Roselyn Edinam Kumazah, a criminology from Gaithersburg, Md.
  • David Mersing, a chemistry from Kingwood, W.Va.
  • Omobola Oluwafemi, a biology from Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Rachael Petrie, a psychology major from Huntington, W.Va.
  • Hailey Taylor, a psychology/criminology major from Middletown, Del.

The McNair Scholars program was created in honor of scientist, engineer and NASA astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who was killed in the 1986 Challenger explosion. WVU’s program began in 1999, and since time McNair has served more than 230 students. Sixteen have earned doctoral degrees, 31 are currently enrolled in doctoral programs, and 120 of them have obtained or are currently enrolled in master’s program.

Visit the McNair Scholars website for more information.



CONTACT: Dr. Betty Mei, McNair Scholars

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