Five McNair Achievement Program Scholars Selected

PULLMAN, Wash. — Five Washington State University students have been
selected as McNair Achievement Program Scholars for the 2000-2001 academic

All juniors, they are Debra Ponds, neuroscience; Jose Esparza, comparative
American cultures; Maria Gonzales, education; Amber Vargas, English; and
Sokun Meng, business.

A five-year $190,000-per-year federal grant to the WSU Graduate School funds
the program. It encourages and prepares low-income, first-generation college
students to earn doctoral degrees, said Steve Burkett, McNair program director
and graduate school associate dean.

Burkett, McNair Program advisory board members, and Nancy Schmidt, the
program’s coordinator, interviewed a pool of applicants before selecting the
five scholars.

As McNair Scholars, students spend their first year learning about graduate
school and the application process, researching potential schools, creating
relationships with faculty and graduate students, and preparing a research
proposal. The summer between the scholars’ junior and senior year is spent on
a research project. Scholars work under the guidance of a faculty mentor,
receive a stipend for their finished work and participate in a research
symposium at the end of the summer. During their last year of WSU classes,
scholars prepare for the Graduate Record Examination, take the exam, select
and apply to graduate schools, and may present their research at regional or
national conferences.

McNair Scholars participating in the May 6 WSU commencement are
Hsueh-Ping Meier, apparel, merchandising, textiles and interior design; Jackie
Long, speech and hearing sciences; Guillermo Macias, business, management
information systems; Erica Matthews, cultural anthropology; Jose Garcia,
foreign languages-Spanish; Alma Montes de Oca, comparative American
cultures; and Freedom Siyam, history and comparative American cultures. All
will wear WSU McNair Scholar stoles with their academic gowns during

Awards won by McNair Scholars during the current academic year include
Jacqueline Martinez, Woman of Color of the Year; Cicely Clinkenbeard and
Evelia Sandoval, Summer Research Opportunity Program offers; and Clyde
Washington, Peer Tutor of the Year. President’s Awards went to McNair
Scholars Meier, Montes de Oca, Sandoval, Sylvia Mendez, and Luzviminda
Carpenter. Meng also received a President’s Award.