Edith Melendez


Edith Melendez graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Developmental Psychology with minors in Psychology and Spanish. She was accepted to five graduate programs: San Jose State University, University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, Penn State, Harrisburg, and Oregon State University. She began attending New Mexico State University in the fall of 2018.

McNair Program Reflection:

"I would like to thank the EWU Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program for all the opportunities they opened me. As a first-generation, low-income, Latina student, I would have never imagined graduating from a four-year university and being accepted to several graduate schools. As a researcher, I have learned that research is rewarding. As a scholar from the prestigious Ronald E. McNair program, I have participated in two original research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. My first project was conducted at Eastern Washington University and the second original research project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through these experiences, it has motivated me to believe in myself even more and fight the imposter syndrome. I would like to thank Cynthia Dukich, Dr. Christina Torres Garcia, and Carlos Munoz for always mentoring me and guiding me as a McNair Scholar. I couldn't have done it without all your support!"

McNair Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Shanna Davis - Psychology
Research Title: Developing a Support Center without Borders: Enhancing Services for Students Without Documentation 

Abstract: College students without documentation (students) face many academic support hardships. As defined by the National Immigration Law Center, an undocumented person is a foreign national who resides in the United States with fraudulent documents or entered without authorization. Every year hundreds of motivated students with high potential to succeed in an academic setting enroll into four-year university with hopes of becoming upwardly mobile and contributing to society. Unlike college students with authorization, they have added stress and pressures relating to overcoming financial, social, and educational challenges. Despite these obstacles and legal status, they persevere and achieve academic success along educational pipelines. However, many universities in Washington State lack support structures that provide social support, personal development, and support services specifically tailored to college students without documentation. As such, the recommendations outlined in this essay suggests that creating a center will empower students and better support them.