Working Hard Online
It's been a year of online learning and virtual support from McNair for our EWU McNair Scholars. Many of our current McNair scholars had just one quarter in person with McNair before going online. Still, McNair was able to provide critical research and writing skills training with our virtual spring research methods course. Next, these students participated in a virtual Summer Research Internship with EWU McNair or another college. For those at EWU, they spent daily time on their research in conjunction with their mentors, several hours a week drafting application materials, 3-8 hours per week on GRE prep with Magoosh, and several hours each week growing their writing skills. EWU McNair provided the frame for this learning, daily guidance and regular lessons in each realm, as well as critical feedback and support for writing and more.
EWU McNair Summer and Fall includes Conferences and Guest Speakers!
EWU McNair Scholars attended the three day Virtual PNW McNair PhD Prep Conference in July. Throughout the summer they also had the opportunity to learn from multiple EWU McNair alumni in special guest presentations. Harvard PhD Candidate Isaura Gallegos presented on research identity and strengthening the Statements of Academic Purpose for graduate school applications. Christina Ramelow, a first-year neuroscience PhD student at Emory University, discussed making poster presentations for scientific conferences and how to apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Dr. Ghynecee Temple presented on advocating for yourself in graduate school, dealing with stress and uncertainty about the graduate school process, and cultivating allyship and connection. Additionally, in collaboration with McNair, multiple EWU services supported the students in our summer program, including library staff, the Writer's Center, and Career Services. Then in McNair's fall course supporting students with their applications for graduate school, recent graduates Marixza Torres and Abdu Mohamed talked about what graduate school has been like and recommendations to students. In October, nine EWU McNair Scholars presented their summer research at the Baylor McNair Research Conference.
Many Applications, Many Acceptances!
For those who applied, they completed graduate applications and interviews 100% online with the support of the EWU McNair fall course on creating strong applications, as well as regular feedback on the statements of purpose and mock interviews with McNair staff and staff from the EWU Writer's Center. As with all students, it's been a challenging year, but EWU McNair has been so proud of our scholars who have gone above and beyond their regular classwork to engage in research, many continuing on their summer work into the fall, as well as preparing graduate applications!
13 EWU McNair Scholars applied to graduate school this year, with well over 90 applications in all. Some students applied to over 12 schools! Furthermore, despite it being a competitive year with many programs in question or not accepting students for the Fall of 2021, so far, 10 of our scholars have received at least one offer, and there have been 26 acceptances total, with new ones coming each day! Many of these acceptances have come with significant or full funding. Click here to look at all of the acceptances we've posted about so far!
Faculty Mentor Support Critical
EWU McNair and our scholars couldn't do this without the support of our faculty mentors. Especially given a year so fraught with extra difficulties, our faculty mentors signed up for extra responsibilities to mentor students on their research. Many started meeting regularly with students in the spring, getting to know them further and providing them guidance on research articles and a literature review. Next, they worked with students directly on their research projects for the summer quarter, with several students able to do field or lab work despite the pandemic. This is especially critical to our STEM students. Mentors then continue their guidance, some times in additional ongoing research or on completion of the research projects that take longer than just the summer. Finally, mentors write the most important letters of recommendation in the student's applications.
Dr. Kevin Decker, Dr. Aryn Ziehnert, Dr. Majid Sharifi, Dr. Lindsey Upton, Dr. Judd Case, Dr. Okera Nsombi, Dr. Carmen Nezat, Dr. Edwin Elias, Dr. Susan Ruby, Dr. Yao Houndonougbo, Dr. Rebecca Brown, Dr. Michael Winer, Dr. Gina Mikel Petrie, Dr. Jacqueline Coomes, Dr. Jillene Seiver, Dr. Brian Buchanan, and Dr. Camille McNeely
Thank you to Faculty Writing Letters of Recommendation!
EWU McNair would also like to thank all of the additional faculty that wrote letters of recommendation for our scholars. These letters are a critical part of each student's application. Writing strong letters of recommendation personalized to each school takes a lot of time and makes a huge difference. We hope you hear from each of the scholars you wrote letters for as they receive their acceptances and move on to graduate school.
We're So Proud of All of our Scholars
We're so excited about and impressed with all of our scholars. Whether they put in one application or fifteen, they stayed the course on their goals and dreams. For those that did not apply this year, due to family circumstances, impacts from the pandemic, or because they still have another year at Eastern, we're proud of you as well. It takes a lot to survive these days and you are hanging in there! We know that no matter the challenges of this year, you will continue on the path that's right for you.