This summer, research is the main priority for André Wallace, senior, from Sun Prairie, and 12 other University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students.
The UW Oshkosh students are part of the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program—a program for undergraduate students interested in earning an additional degree after graduation.
“I didn’t realize once I said, ‘okay I’ll go apply,’ that I applied to a pretty prestigious scholarship that is well-known nationwide,” Wallace said.
As part of the program, students are paired with a faculty mentor to design, implement and complete a significant research project. Wallace, a human services leadership major, has been working with Paul Van Auken from the sociology department to research group dynamics—specifically, how people collaborate with each other on a college campus.
They are working with 60 students from all areas of campus—athletics, Greek life and more—to see how they perform on four non-athletic, team-building activities.
Wallace became interested in the research topic because as a former UWO basketball player he learned there is always a common goal that needs to be achieved and the end result depends on how people work together. He is interested in seeing who stands out as leaders and why.
Wallace said he feels very fortunate to be part of the program, saying it has given him extra opportunities like academic advising and assistance with the graduate school application process. He also said being able to talk about his research and future plans with professors and scholars at prospective graduate schools helps him stand out.
Wallace plans to get a master’s in public administration, and eventually earn his doctorate. His research will help him understand what it takes to be a leader.
“If someone would have asked me two or three years ago if I wanted to go to grad school, then eventually get my Ph.D., I’d call them crazy,” Wallace said. “Now, when I tell people I’m going for my Ph.D. and when they ask, ‘why?’ I respond joking, ‘it would be cool to be called Dr. Dre.’”
The UW Oshkosh McNair Scholars Program is funded through a TRiO grant from the United States Department of Education. For 2015–2016, the UW Oshkosh McNair Scholars Program received $220,000 in federal funds.
Students take part in paid summer internships and receive housing stipends, academic counseling and tutoring, career counseling and guidance and assistance with GRE preparation and the graduate school application process.
The other 2016–2017 McNair Scholars, include:
- Jeff Berger, a senior psychology and Japanese major from Oshkosh, is working with Aaron Karst from the psychology department studying human memory and artificial intelligence.
- Jordan Black, a junior biology major with a chemistry minor from Verona, is studying pharmacological agents with Eric Matson of the biology department.
- Savannah Block, a junior English major with French and philosophy minors from Oshkosh, is working with Crystal Mueller from the English department on a research topic titled “Motivation to Continue Critical Thinking within the Writing Process.”
- Carolyn Butzen, a sophomore psychology major from Appleton, is working with Fredi Giesler from the social work department. Butzen will be studying the correlation between autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction.
- Cassandra Duncan, a junior biology major from Kenosha, is working with Dana Merriman of the biology department to study the blood-gut barrier of 13-lined ground squirrels.
- Monica Greco, a sophomore philosophy and political science major from Milwaukee, is working with Evan Williams from the philosophy department to study feminist ethics.
- Josh Henkel, a junior psychology and criminal justice major from Oshkosh, is working with Michael Lenza from the criminal justice department to research restorative justice.
- David Morser, a senior Japanese and professional physics major from Kaukauna, is studying homogeneous estimates on metallicity of open clusters based on Strömgren and Vilnius photoelectric systems with Dr. Nadejda Kaltcheva from the physics department.
- Marissa Munoz, a junior chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry from Sheboygan, is studying the synthesis of amino acids. Her research will be facilitated by Brant Kedrowski of the chemistry department.
- Shakura Salahaladyn, a junior business major from Milwaukee, is working with Norlisha Crawford from the English department and the African American Studies program. Her research topic is the prevalence of black women in business.
- Lynn Valencic, a senior anthropology major from Oshkosh, is researching the ceramic heads of the Mesoamerican culture with Stephanie de Montigny from the anthropology department.