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McNair Scholars' 2017-18 Cohort Celebrated

The 10th annual TRIO McNair Scholars Recognition and Awards Luncheon was a chance to celebrate a group of hard-working students in USD’s Class of 2018 who've done research, worked closely with a University of San Diego faculty mentor and successfully applied to graduate programs and earned opportunities to continue their education at the graduate level at institutions around the United States.

2018 McNair Scholars Banquet

McNair Scholars Director Ramiro Frausto and Academic Coordinator Isabel Hermsmeyer welcomed the audience and expressed their admiration for the work that has been done by this year's cohort.

Frausto said the 2018 cohort had eight students who were admitted into graduate programs, six who were accepted into PhD programs, 75 percent of whom received a full funding package and that it totaled $1.3 million that was offered to students in graduate school stipends (which goes beyond tuition). Some students are still in the application process and/or learning where they’ll be heading.

The luncheon's keynote speaker was Dr. Victoria Rodriguez, a member of USD's Diversity Post-Doctoral Fellowship program who teaches in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Rodriguez, who was a McNair Scholar at her undergraduate alma mater St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, then studied at Stanford University where she earned her PhD in Developmental and Psychological Sciences. She shared her personal story with the audience.

Hermsmeyer introduced Melinda Sevilla, one of this year's McNair Scholar graduates, to present the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award to her mentor, Dr. Kristin Moran, Communication Studies professor and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

From there, Frausto introduced the McNair Scholars cohort's graduating seniors, who received their graduation stoles and a certificate.

Student: Lilia Baldauf; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Daley, Chemistry; Graduate Program: Chemistry, UC Davis.

Student: Kylin Copthorne; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ashley Feinsinger, Philosophy.

Student: Kevin Do; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Leeva Chung, Communication Studies; Graduate Program: Communications, UC Santa Barbara.

Student: Thu Dong; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Randy Willoughby, Political Science.

Student: Aurora Espinoza; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Orlando Espin, Theology and Religious Studies.

Student: Jeharrah Pearl; Faculty Mentor: Saturino Garcia, Computer Science; Graduate Program: Parsons School of Design, MFA Design and Technology.

Student: Cassandra Ortega; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Reifer, Sociology; Graduate Program: RELAY Graduate School of Education.

Student: Nicholas Norita; Faculty Mentor: Jack Crumley, Philosophy.

Student: Isidro Gonzalez; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Gonzalez, History; Graduate Program: History, UC Riverside.

Student: Jessica Paul; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Blaser, Psychological Sciences.

Student: Carli Proctor; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristin McCabe, Psychological Sciences.

Student: Melinda Sevilla; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristin Moran, Communication Studies; Graduate Program: PhD Communications, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

Student: Dominique Shank; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carlton Floyd, English; Graduate Program: PhD English, University of Georgia Athens.

Student: Tiasha Rogers; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Reifer, Sociology.

Student: Sirena Tran; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ellis Bell, Biochemistry; Graduate Program: PhD Biomedical Sciences, Vanderbilt University.

Student: Lina Wallace; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Judith Liu, Sociology.

Student: Clarissa Wolatz; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Turner Nevitt, Philosophy.

— Ryan T. Blystone