The McNair Program at UNL consists of 27 scholars, divided between Junior, Senior and Master participants.
McNair Junior Scholars
Janeigh Castillo Barraza is a psychology major from Lincoln, Nebraska. Janeigh’s faculty mentor is Dr. Susan Sheridan from the Department of Educational Psychology.
Biological Sciences and Sociology
Kendra Haag is a biological sciences and sociology major from St. Joseph, Missouri. She'll be working with Dr. Les Whitbeck from the Department of Sociology.
Biological Systems Engineering
Jackie Hernandez is a biological systems engineering major from Grand Island, Nebraska. Jackie will be conducting research with Dr. Carl Nelson from the Department of Mechanical and Material Engineering.
Psychology and Spanish
Erandi Herndon is a psychology and Spanish major from LaVista, Nebraska. She'll be working on the effects of bilingualism and acculturation on the cognitive development of adolescents with Dr. Cynthia Willis-Esqueda, from the Department of Psychology. Erandi plans to earn her Ph.D. in psychology and ultimately establish her own clinical practice.
Dina Morales is a psychology major from Harvard, Nebraska. Dina's faculty mentor is Dr. Jeffrey Stevens, from the Department of Psychology.
Chemistry and Physics
Ivan Moreno, from South Sioux City, Nebraska, is pursuing double majors in chemistry and physics. He'll be working on 3-D imaging of molecules with his mentor, Dr. Martin Centurion, from the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Ivan plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in physical chemistry, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor at a research university.
David Pacheco is a mechanical engineering major from South Sioux City, Nebraska. He'll be working with Dr. Carl Nelson from the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. David's research interests include electric vehicles, automotive engineering, power systems and robotics.
Olivia Reinert-Gehman is a psychology major from Omaha, Nebraska. She'll be working with Dr. Scott Stoltenberg, from the Department of Psychology.
Eric Reiss is a geology major from Omaha, Nebraska. Eric will be conducting research with Dr. Christopher Fielding from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
Biochemistry and Psychology
Elia Soto is a biochemistry and psychology major from Norfolk, Nebraska. Her research interests involve evaluating the effects of cultural values and parenting on the performance of inhibition on executive control in bilingual children ages three to five. She'll be working with Dr. Jennifer Mize Nelson, from the Office of Research and Department of Psychology. Elia’s future plans are to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. degree.
Biological Systems Engineering
Jason Thomas is a biological systems engineering major from Papillion, Nebraska. His faculty mentor is Dr. Xu Li, from the Department of Civil Engineering. Jason's future plans are to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental engineering.
Alyssa Yeates is a biological sciences major from Lincoln, Nebraska. She'll be conducting research with Dr. Melanie Simpson from the Department of Biochemistry on mechanisms of advanced prostate cancer.
McNair Senior Scholars
Psychology & Sociology
Bridget Agnew is a psychology and sociology major from Omaha, Nebraska. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Helen Moore, Department of Sociology, and their research focuses on racial identity. Bridget's academic and career goals are to earn a doctoral degree in sociology and become a professor.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Black Racial Identity and Academic Achievement
Emmilie Baker is a psychology major from Lincoln, Nebraska. With her research mentor, Dr. Sarah Gervais from the Department of Psychology, Emmilie's summer research project examined self-objectification and social anxiety. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Relations Between Social Anxiety, Objectification Experiences, and Self-Objectification
Ross Benes is a senior psychology major from Brainard, Nebraska. He conducted his McNair Summer Research project with Dr. Peter Harms from the Department of Management. Their project examined personality traits at different levels of hierarchy in the workplace. Ross plans to apply to graduate programs in industrial-organizational psychology.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Personality Differences Between First and Second in Command Leaders in Organizations
Maggie Gossard Schauer
Maggie Gossard Schauer, a psychology major from Lincoln, Nebraska, is working with Dr. Sarah Gervais from the Department of Psychology. Their research focuses on stereotype threat with an emphasis on obesity stigma in the workplace. Maggie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology, with the ultimate goal of a career in academia.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Deconstructing the Funny Fat Girl: Exploring Compensatory Strategies of Overweight Women
Eric Harmes is a psychology major from Lincoln, Nebraska. He is conducting research on sexual re-victimization with Dr. David DiLillo from the Department of Psychology. Eric intends to earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and open a private practice mental health clinic.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Sexual Revictimization: A Comparison of Outcomes Based Upon Age of Initial Victimization
Kenneth Herron is an English major from Kansas City, Missouri. His McNair research mentor is Dr. Kwakiutl Dreher, Professor of English and Ethnic Studies. Their summer research project focused on African American men working in the culture of entertainment. Kenneth’s academic and career goals are to earn a Ph.D. in English, with a focus on African American literature during the Harlem Renaissance. His career plans are to teach English at the university level.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: I Am Not My Father: Sidney Poitier and Reginald Poitier
Biological Systems Engineering
Brooke Micek, a biological systems engineering major from Duncan, Nebraska, is working with Dr. Melanie Simpson from the Department of Biochemistry. Their research examines the enzymes that control oxidative stress in prostate cancer cells. Brooke intends to earn an advanced degree in biomedical engineering and ultimately work in a research lab and teach at a university.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Characterization of Glutathione Metabolizing Enzymes in Prostate Cancer
Moses Pacheco is a civil engineering major from Dakota City, Nebraska. He has been working with Dr. Dean Sicking from the Department of Civil Engineering and the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility on designing a crashworthy pedestrian rail. After attaining his bachelor's degree, Moses plans to pursue a doctoral degree in structural engineering.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Crashworthy Pedestrian Rail
Nina Quiñones, a psychology major from Katy, Texas, has been conducting research with Dr. Michael Scheel from the Department of Educational Psychology. Their summer research project examined the effect of language and culture on the academic success of Latino High school students. Nina's graduate school plans are to pursue a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Successful Students in a High School Dropout Prevention Program
Daniel Sotelo Leon
Daniel Sotelo Leon is a biochemistry major from Thornton, Colorado. Alongside his faculty mentor, Dr. Melanie Simpson, from the Department of Biochemistry, his McNair Summer Research Project investigated the causes and impacts of Hyaluronan overproduction by prostate tumor cells. Daniel’s graduate school goal is enter an M.D./Ph.D. program.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Characterization of Human Hyaluronidase 3 and 4 and their Role in Prostate Cancer Metastasis
Biological Systems Engineering
Joseph Tran, a biological systems engineering major from Lincoln, Nebraska, has been working with Dr. Carl Nelson from the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Their research focuses on programming logic design for medical robots. Joseph’s future plans include attending graduate school in the area of prosthesis, robotics and programming, and eventually working in the field of robotics and prosthesis.
Summer 2012 Research Poster: Design Topology for Applications of Low-Cost Computing Platforms to Complicated Robotic Tasks
McNair Master Scholars
Reinaldo Alcalde from Lincoln, Nebraska, is a senior majoring in civil engineering. Currently, he's continuing his McNair research project through UCARE under the guidance of his research mentor, Dr. David Admiraal from the Department of Civil Engineering. Their research involves experimental analysis of water flows through a combined weir and sluice gate structure. He's also a teacher assistant for the Intro to Environmental Engineering course taught by Dr. Xu Li. Rei's ultimate goal as a scholar is to earn a doctorate in civil engineering with an emphasis in water resources and environmental engineering.
Summer 2011 Research Poster: Case Study: Velocity and Discharge Measurements in a Combined Weir and Sluice Gate Structure
CIC SROP 2012 Poster: Microbiologically Enhanced Mixing Across Scales during In-Situ Bioremediation of Uranium
Nathan Lilienthal of Callaway, Nebraska, is a junior majoring in geology. He has been conducting research with Dr. Ross Secord, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Nathan's summer research project explored why the body size of horses declined during the Pleistocene Epoch. After attending graduate school to attain a Ph.D. in paleontology, Nathan would like to gain research experience in the field focused on vertebrate paleontology and become a university professor.
Summer 2011 Research Poster: Body Size Trends in Ice Age (Pleistocene) Horses from the Great Plains
Christian Padilla is a junior mechanical engineering major from Santa Monica, California. Christian’s faculty mentor is Dr. Carl Nelson, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering. Christian's research interests range through robotics, programming, and aerodynamics. His summer research project focused on motion generation using straight-line mechanisms. After graduate school, Christian would like to become a professional engineer in the aerospace field.
Summer 2011 Research Poster: Motion Generation Using Peaucellier Straight-line Mechanisms
Karina Pedroza, from South Sioux City, Nebraska, is a senior double majoring in psychology and ethnic studies. Along with her mentor, Dr. Cynthia Willis-Esqueda from the Department of Psychology, she examined the impact of patriotism and perceived threat on attitudes about immigration. Her current project is a follow-up to her previous study, where she will examine the effects of patriotism and threat on people's perceptions about specific groups of immigrants and how these perceptions affect behavior. Karina plans on earning a joint J.D. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology. She would eventually like to have a career as an immigration lawyer, specializing in human rights and deportations, working specifically with Latino immigrants.
Summer 2011 Research Poster: Underpinnings of Attitudes Toward Immigration
Alumni photos are not current; they are from our scholars' time at UNL.
2010 McNair Cohort
Misam Ali is pursuing a Juris Doctorate at the University of Colorado at Boulder Law School, specializing in international law.
Mollie Dittmer is enrolled in the counseling master’s program at Doane College.
Brittany Jones is enrolled in the counselor education master’s program at the University of Central Florida.
Alyssa Lundahl is pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
2009 McNair Cohort
Karise Carrillo is enrolled in the criminal justice Ph.D. program at the State University of New York at Albany.
Justin Escamilla is pursuing a Ph.D. in criminology, law, and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Melissa Garfield is pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology at Washington State University.
Zachary Garfield is enrolled in the anthropology Ph.D. program at Washington State University.
Alex Goldstein is enrolled in the M.D. program at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas.
Alan Goyzueta earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2013. Alan has accepted a position with Garmin in the Kansas City metro area.
Katie Haferbier is enrolled in the Eppley Cancer Institute Ph.D. Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Michelle Haikalis is pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Jeff Lopez is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering at Stanford University.
Tyler Scherr is enrolled in the Biomedical Research Ph.D. Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
2008 McNair Cohort
Morgan Conley earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2013, and is pursuing her Ph.D. program at UNL.
Michael Gubbels is a computer science doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park. He’s focusing his research on the areas of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence.
Michael Harpster earned his M.Arch degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2013. He has accepted a position with Sinclair Hille Architects in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Drew Nelson is enrolled in a geology master's program at Oklahoma State University.
Jeanette Samuels is pursuing a Juris Doctorate degree at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Brian Shreck is enrolled in the political science doctoral program at Texas A&M University.
Brittany Sznajder-Murray is pursuing a doctorate in human development and family science at Ohio State University.
2007 McNair Cohort
Joshua Alvarez earned his master’s in higher education at the University of Maryland in May 2011.
Rebecca Beals completed her master’s degree in sociology in May 2011 from Inequality at the University of New Mexico. She’s continuing her education in UNM’s doctoral program in Sociology - Education and Inequality.
Jeff Belmont is pursuing a master’s in public health at Tulane University.
Tara Cossel earned her master's degree in clincial psychology from the University of Memphis in August 2012, and is pursuing her second master's in teaching from the University of Memphis.
Willie Novotny is enrolled in an M.D. program at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
Chelsea (Rivera) Augustine is enrolled in the counseling master's program at Grace University.
Adrian Soltero earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University in December 2011. Adrian is employed as an analog applications engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas.
Mo Wax earned a master's in student affairs at Central Missouri University in Warrensburg in May 2011. He’s currently enrolled in a doctoral program in business and higher education at Miami of Ohio.
2006 McNair Cohort
Martin Diaz earned his master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware in December 2011, and is pursuing his Ph.D. in the area of high performance solar cells at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
Emily (Haferbier) Trotter earned her master's degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in December 2009.
Sahar Hasim is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in biological sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Yaravi Lopez-Wilson earned her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2010.
Masoud Mahjouri Samani earned his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2013. He has accepted a Postdoctoral Research Associate position at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Corey Minchow is enrolled in the clinical psychology master's program at Bellevue University.
Maegan Stevens-Liska is enrolled in the University of Missouri master's program in library and information science.
2005 McNair Cohort
Justine Buffalo Calf
Andrea Lowe is attending law school at the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Phuoc Nguyen earned his master’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2011.
MinJeong Schneider earned her master's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in August 2011.
Jenna Valadez is enrolled in the History doctoral program at Southern Methodist University.
2004 McNair Cohort
Danielle (Deschene) Leeper earned her master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2008.
Erica (Ginn) Holley earned her Ph.D. degree in management from the University of Washington in 2012. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Management at Central Washington University.
Danielle (Luther) Luebbe earned a master's in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2009.
Anitra (Mallory) Warrior earned her master's degree in December 2007 and currently is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Nathan Palmer earned his master's degree in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2008.
Lindsey (Richters) Chizinski earned her master's degree in Natural Resource Sciences in May 2012 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Erica Rogers earned her master's degree in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in August 2012. She is currently enrolled in the English doctoral program at the UNL.
Hope (Van Houten) Bleckwehl completed her master's in School Counseling at the University of Northern Iowa, May 2008.
Jessica Wall earned her master's in History in May 2009, and is enrolled in a joint History and Gender Studies doctoral program at Indiana University-Bloomington.
2003 McNair Cohort
Olabode Alabi earned a master's degree in industrial and management systems engineering from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2010, and is currently enrolled in a second master’s degree program in Community and Regional Planning at UNL.
Tia Cole earned her master's degree in English from the University of Nebraska–Omaha in May 2010.
Shaneice Hicks earned her master's degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska–Omaha, August 2007, and is working on her second master’s in educational leadership at Doane College.
Natasha Luepke earned her masters in English from Oregon State University, with a specialization in Literature and Culture.
Arlo McKee earned his master's degree in anthropology at the University of Kansas-Lawrence in December 2009. He is currently employed at Geo-Marine as a project archaeologist in Plano, Texas.
Camilo Ramirez earned his master's degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Kacie (Rehder) Schrader is enrolled at the University of Phoenix in the Marriage, Family and Child Therapy masters program.
Melissa Tehee earned her master's from Western Washington University in June 2007, and her J.D. degree at the University of Arizona in May 2012. She's currently completing her Ph.D. in Psychology, Policy, and Law at the University of Arizona.
2002 McNair Cohort
Olamide Alabi earned an M.D. degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in May 2010.
Brett Avila earned his Master's of Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, July 2006.
Tara Boren is pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy at Creighton University.
Potso Byndon earned his Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in May 2011.
Uyen Chu earned her Ph.D. degree in pharmacology, with a specialization in molecular and cellular pharmacology, from the University of Wisconsin in May 2011. She is a postdoctoral fellow working with Jay Yang, Anesthesiology, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Heather Flores earned her Ph.D. in the Genetics and Development PhD program from Cornell University in May 2012. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Monash University in Clayton (Melbourne), Australia.
Marlene Grayer earned her master’s in 2009, and is enrolled in a Ph.D. program in educational studies with a specialization in teaching, curriculum and learning at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Donald McCauley III
Hung Nguyen earned his master's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in August 2006. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas-Austin.
Le Thi Hong Nguyen earned a Master of Architecture Degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in December 2008.
Sandra Potter earned her master's degree in Educational Psychology from University of Nebraska–Lincoln in August 2008, and she earned her Ph.D. in Human Sciences from the UNL in August 2012. She is currently an assistant professor in early childhood education at Mount Olive College in North Carolina.
Darryle (DJ) Todd, Jr., earned a master’s degree in Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Louisville in May 2006. He is currently the Coordinator for Multicultural Affairs at Marquette University.