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Post-baccalaureate program ushers 12 scholars into ‘McNair family’


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Inductees to the McNair Scholars Program began their weekend at an award ceremony tonight for the 2017-18 cohort.

The 12 students, who will be funded by both the U.S. Department of Education and the university, were presented with certificates by Program Director Molly Minus. Faculty, former McNair scholars and family and friends were also in attendance.

A post-baccalaureate achievement opportunity, the McNair Scholars Program’s purpose is to prepare less affluent and first generation undergraduate students for doctoral programs, according to the St. Edward’s program flyer.

Mentoring with a faculty member, graduate fee waivers for some schools and GRE test preparation are among many benefits of the program.

Assistant Director Sonia Briseño, who works with Molly Minus, helped organize tonight’s ceremony and coordinates the McNair Scholars program. She said just like previous years, 2017-18 was “extremely competitive” among the pool of over 30 applicants.

“We are honored to have these 12 new students join our McNair family,” Briseño said. “We are very excited to start exploring different graduate programs and start working on their research projects, as well as their involvement throughout their McNair participation.”

Representing a myriad of majors, recipients included forensic chemistry majors Guadalupe Aguilar and Christopher Azaldegui, biology majors Clarissa De Leon and Sugey Garza, behavioral neuroscience majors Sidney Mitchell and Ryder Nicholas.

Biochemistry major Analise Roth-Rodriguez, mathematics major Bianca Salinas, digital media management and computer information science major Alessandra Urbina, psychology major Ana Vielma, and chemistry major Jennifer Jaimes were also honored. Andrea Calderon, an environmental science and policy major, was inducted but is currently studying abroad in Australia.

Among those in the audience was John Jaimes supporting daughter Jennifer Jaimes. Jaimes, who works in facilities at the university, said he was proud of his daughter who he says has always been in the top of her class.

“From day one when that girl started kindergarten, Jennifer has been amazing,” said Jaimes. Looking forward, Jaimes says he wants his daughter to live a life that makes her happy. “I just want her to succeed and graduate from St. Edward’s and go off to graduate school and get a good job. Get married, have kids, make me a grandpa,” he said.

Jennifer Jaimes, who will begin research in chemistry says she hopes to use her scholarship to get into a graduate school of her choice and eventually teach chemistry.

“I am feeling great. I wasn’t sure I would get in,” Jaimes said. Regarding her dad’s attendance, she said, “I’m grateful for him. He works here, so it’s like extra support. I see him around campus from time to time and it’s comforting.”

Named after Ronald E. McNair a NASA astronaut and accomplished physicist, the program requires students with at least 45 hours of college credit and a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Applications for the 2017-18 inductees were due Oct. 12, but a copy of this year’s application is available at www.stedwards.edu/undergraduate/fellowships-scholar-programs.com.

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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University
Post-baccalaureate program ushers 12 scholars into ‘McNair family’