WSU McNair Program Seniors Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. — Thirteen Washington State University scholars and May graduates, with their professor-mentors, were honored April 25 at the Ronald E. McNair Program’s senior awards banquet.

The graduates include Patricia Acevedo of Arlington, Texas, majoring in psychology and criminal justice and mentored by Steven Burkett; Luzviminda Carpenter of Spokane, majoring in English and mentored by Brian McNeill; Cicely Clinkenbeard of Okanogan, majoring in communication and mentored by Lincoln James; and Michelle Conover of Castle Rock, majoring in animal sciences and mentored by Mark Mirando and Ruth Newberry.

Other graduates are Cecilia Martinez of Yakima, majoring in political science and comparative American cultures and mentored by Jose Alamillo; Jackie Martinez of Yakima, majoring in women’s studies and comparative American cultures and mentored by Kelly Ervin; Erica Matthews of Marcus, majoring in anthropology and mentored by Yolanda Flores-Niemann; and Sylvia Mendez of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., majoring in economics and mentored by Fred Inaba.

Dekra Mitchell of Seattle, majoring in business and mentored by Praveen Parboteeah; Dayla Randolph of Kent, majoring in psychology and mentored by Craig Parks; Evelia Sandoval of Pullman, majoring in biology and mentored by David Moffett; and Clyde Washington of San Bernardino, Calif., majoring in chemical engineering and mentored by William Thomson, also were recognized.

Student Amber Vargas of Toppenish, majoring in English, began the program last fall and also will complete her degree in May.

The McNair Program’s newest members, and juniors at WSU, include the following: Jesus Barcenas, an education major from Sunnyside, working with Gerdean Tan; Melissa Commodore, a communication major from Federal Way, working with Rick Busselle; Wilbert Fields Jr., a fine arts major from Vancouver, working with Emily Blair; and Stephanie Harding, a neuroscience major from Vancouver, working with Jim Krueger.

Others are Noelia Hernandez, an international business major from Bridgeport, working with Mudzi Nziramasanga; Nina Jackson, a communication major from Tacoma, working with Julie Andsager; Tomas Madrigal from Pasco, working with Alamillo; Maria Mendoza, a biology major from Grandview, working with Greg Russell; Kim-Trieu Nguyen, an anthropology major from Coupeville, working with William Willard; Corrinne Williams, a business/human resources major from Seattle, working with Ervin; and Kimberly Williams, a political science major from Seattle, working with Faith Lutze.

The following students began the program last fall: Jose Esparza, a psychology major from Quincy, working with Shelli Fowler; Maria Gonzalez, an education major from East Wenatchee, working with Anne Campbell; Sokun Meng, a business/management information systems major from Tacoma, working with Kim Wade; and Debra Ponds, a neuroscience major from Pullman, working with Dong-Hyun Kang.

The McNair Program encourages and prepares low-income, first-generation college students or those of African American, Chicano/Latino or Native American heritage to go on to graduate school and earn doctoral degrees. The postbaccalaureate achievement program is funded by a five-year $203,000-a-year federal grant.

Program information is available from the McNair Program office, Lighty Student Services Building, Room 190, or the WSU Graduate School, French Administration Building, Room 324. Information and a downloadable application form also are available from the McNair Web site, Nancy Schmidt, program spokeswoman, can be reached at 509/335-7702.

The program is named for Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut who died in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion. An African American, McNair’s background included earning a physics doctoral degree.