The program’s mission is to create educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. It assists students from underrepresented groups prepare for, enter, and progress successfully through postgraduate education.
First generation college students from low-income families or African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Native American Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Natives qualify as McNair Fellows. Since 2007, four McNair fellows have entered Ph.D. programs and 15 are working in research fields.
McNair Research Talks are designed for interested, non-expert students.
Rashedul Haydar ’14 presented his study on “Laser Induced Plasmas Under Bulk Water: Spatiotemporal Characteristics and Spectral Analysis.”
Lavontria Aaron ’14 presented her research on “The Remote Sensing and Mapping of Serpentine Soil Plants in Puerto Rico.”
More than 20 honors and MA students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented their research at the Celebration of Science Theses, April 18 in Exley Science Center. Xi Liu ’14 presented her study on “Consequences of Priming Status Legitimizing Beliefs in Whites: An Investigation of Perceived Anti-White Bias, Zero-Sum Beliefs and Support for Affirmative Action.” Liu’s advisors are Clara Wilkins, assistant professor of psychology, and Joseph Wellman, postdoctoral fellow in psychology.
Graduate student Caleb Corliss ’13 presented his study, “High-Performance Genotypes of Polygonum cespitosum Show Greater Competitive Ability.” His advisor was Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies.
With his Wesleyan undergraduate and graduate students, Assistant Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield studies exoplanets, the local interstellar medium, and stellar and exoplanetary atmospheres. He talks about the unique opportunity offered through his exoplanet program at Wesleyan, in which students at the undergraduate level participate in cutting-edge research.
Melody Oliphant ’13, who double majored in neuroscience and behavior and history at Wes, is now a research associate in a neurogenetics lab at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
“I’m often awestruck at the seemingly limitless answers to the question, ‘What makes Wesleyan special?’ or ‘What excited me about Wesleyan?’ Yet, in some form or fashion, the answer always remains the same: the people, the sense of community.
Throughout my Wesleyan experience, I participated in a disparate array of activities and academic pursuits ranging from environmental activism to my double major, from founding a sorority to participating in the Wesleyan Student Assembly, from playing Ultimate Frisbee to serving as a women’s center escort to help women pass center protesters. I worked as an archivist at the Middlesex County Historical Society, as a student manager for the Red and Black Calling Society, as a sustainability intern working to remove bottled water from campus, and as an intern for the Senior Gift.
Someone unfamiliar with Wesleyan might wonder what unites such supposedly divergent interests. But the answer is simple: community. Even in my academics, I learned not to take courses according to my own purported interests, but rather by following professors who ignite a sense of intellectual curiosity and foster a holistic understanding of the world, uniting the humanities with the technoscientific realm.”
Nataly Kogan ’98 is the co-founder and “chief happiness officer” of Happier.com, a Boston-based happiness company. Kogan immigrated to the United States with her parents from the former Soviet Union when she was thirteen and spent two decades “chasing the big happy,” as she calls it. But when even her achievements failed to make her truly happy, Nataly turned to science and became inspired to stop saying “I’ll be happy when…” and start thinking “I’m happier now because…”
Kogan was a student in the College of Social Studies and met her husband, Avi Grossman Spivack ’99, while they were working at Russell House.
On Oct. 22, 2013, in a historic San Francisco industrial space that once housed the printing plant of William Randolph Hearst, nearly 100 Wesleyan alumni and friends enjoyed an intimate and thought-provoking conversation with two of the nation’s foremost voices on food and the food industry: Michael Pollan P’15 and Jonathan Bloom ’99.
The occasion was “Table Talk,” an event underwritten by generous Wesleyan donors to help support financial aid; the place was The Box San Francisco, in the South of Market district. President Michael Roth welcomed guests to the event and introduced Pollan and Bloom.
In this video, meet neuroscience major Nicholas Woods ’13. Woods talks about his senior thesis on the topic of epilepsy, and describes the unique research experiences Wesleyan offers undergraduate science students. Watch this video and many more on the Videos @ Wesleyan website.
In this video, Matthew Kurtz, associate professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior, talks about his research on cognitive remediation – one of several newer psychological treatments for schizophrenia. He discusses the promising results he and his Wesleyan students have observed working with patients at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn.
In this video, Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy; professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies; professor of environmental studies, talks about the ethics of caring for chimpanzees who have been subjected to invasive biomedical research. She discusses recent positive developments in the movement to retire to sanctuaries the last 1,000 federally-supported research chimpanzees in the United States. Professor Gruen maintains the website www.last1000chimps.com to track the movement of the remaining research chimps in the U.S. from labs to retirement. Find more information about Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary where many research chimps live in retirement, at www.chimphaven.org.
Matt Donahue ’14 is a double major in psychology and neuroscience and behavior, works in several departments on campus, and is the chapter president of Brighter Dawns, a student run non-profit that aims to improve health conditions in the slums of Bangladesh. Learn more about Donahue in the video below:
Last summer, Wesleyan students journeyed to the Louisiana Gulf Coast as part of their College of the Environment class, ENVS 380, a scientific and artistic inquiry into the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The class was led by Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program.