Current McNair Scholars (2014)
J.C. Abdallah is a senior from Youngwood, Pennsylvania majoring in Communication Studies with an area of emphasis in Social Media and Communication Technology. He is a first-generation college student and son of a Jordanian immigrant. He is interested in computer mediated communication and the way ever-changing technology impacts human interaction. His McNair research investigates the interaction between social media and unruly behavior in college students. He plans to continue researching and attain a M.A. and a Ph.D. after he graduates with his B.A. degree. He enjoys astronomy, watching documentaries and closely following the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins.
Ellen Aguilera is a rising junior from Shirley, New York. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. For her McNair research project, she will work with Dr. Michael Shi, Associate Professor of Chemistry, on organic synthesis. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry to prepare for a career as a university professor. Her interests include traveling, cooking, working out, and spending time with her family and friends.
Brandon Bowman is a rising senior at West Virginia University from south Florida. He is currently dual majoring in Business Management and Finance. Brandon’s research will focus on the financial literacy rate of college students and the many effects of these rates. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he intends to seek further education in Finance and obtain a Ph.D. In his free time, Brandon enjoys reading, watching movies, martial arts, and spending time with friends.
Jordan Drew is a rising senior form Howard County, MD, currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Biometric Systems with an emphasis in Software Engineering. Jordan is currently the Secretary and Web Master of the Student Society for the Advancement of Biometrics as well as Executive Secretary of the Beta Psi Chapter of Beta Theta Pi. Jordan’s non-academic interests include philosophy, a variety of music, and being out in nature. His current research focuses on Molecular Biometrics and innovating methods of identification by means of DNA analysis. After graduation, Jordan is interested in pursuing his Ph.D. in one of the many branches of neuroscience.
Chibuzor Ejimofor, from Morgantown, WV, is a rising junior in the West Virginia University Honors College majoring in Biochemistry. His McNair research will focus on engineering a biomolecule to be used as a sensor for the detection the Salmonella in different soups. Chibuzor enjoys playing soccer, bike riding, weight lifting, and debating on the WVU Debate team in his free time.
Cecily Flight is studying International Studies with an emphasis on National Security and Intelligence in the West Virginia University Honors College. Her expected graduation date is in May 2016. She was born in Hemet, CA, but has lived most of her life in the wild and wonderful state of WV in the city of Wheeling. She is one of the Eco Reps Coordinator Interns at the WVU Office of Sustainability working on a student-led initiative to promote sustainability in the residence halls and on campus. Her McNair research will focus on post-conflict peace building through social media. In her free time, Cecily enjoys discovering new music, attending concerts, road trips, visiting different countries, reading about current politics and drinking lots of coffee.
Kelsey Flinn is a senior at West Virginia University from LeRoy, West Virginia. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a major in Agriculture and Extension Education with expectations of graduating in May of 2015. Kelsey’s McNair project will focus on the effects of the practicality of required college courses on the graduates’ career choice. Following graduation, Kelsey plans to teach Agriculture Science in secondary and post-secondary education. She enjoys gardening, swimming, fishing, hiking, jogging, and anything to do with the outdoors.
Jacqueline Fowler is a rising senior from Canton, OH. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminology with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Ms. Fowler will be conducting her McNair research under Dr. Jesse Wozniak, Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, and will focus on the stigmatization of ex-inmates in today’s society. Her graduate research will center around the many facets of incarceration and re-entry in today’s society. Jacqueline’s hobbies include reading, painting, cooking, dressing like a pirate for certain events, and spending time with friends and family.
James Hartnett II is a rising senior at West Virginia University from Upper Marlboro, MD. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport & Exercise Psychology and he is practicing Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo under Toney Artice at WVU. He enjoys exercising, watching movies, and listening to music. James has also worked at the WVU Health Research Center since his sophomore year. His McNair research will focus on using an anonymous social media site to identify themes in the experiences of military veterans whose online expressions could be seen as a new form of emotional catharsis. After graduation, he wishes to pursue a doctoral degree in either clinical psychology to become a psychologist or sport psychology to become a consultant.
Catherine Hefner is a senior from Marlinton, WV. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensics and Investigative Science with an Examiner emphasis and is minoring in Biology from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Catherine’s McNair research will focus on the field of ballistics, under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Keith Morris. Professionally, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Forensic Science or a closely related field. At WVU, she participates in the TRiO Student Support Services Program, the Forensic Club and Relay for Life. Catherine is also a Horatio Alger Scholar, a Hugh O’Brein Youth Leadership Alumna and has volunteered with the Star City Fire Department in Morgantown. She is employed at WVU Arts and Entertainment as a ticketing intern and also tutors students for the Student Support Services Program. Her passions include cooking, traveling, animals, exercising and spending time with friends and family. She is inspired by Oprah and her father, who is also her hero.
Brandy Ledesma is a rising junior from Rialto, California. She is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Social Work with a minor in Spanish. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she intends to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work, followed by a Ph.D. in Psychology. Brandy’s research will focus on the relation between disgust sensitivity and attitudes toward Hispanics and African Americans. She currently holds office as the community service chair on the Mountaineer Swim Club at West Virginia University. She also volunteers weekly at local organizations in Morgantown. In her free time, Brandy enjoys swimming, running, hiking, and spending time with friends.
Ally Makono is a senior at the Eberly College of Arts & Science, WVU. He was born in Tanzania, a thriving nation in East Africa. Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Economics. As a McNair student, Ally will focus his research on the economic system and political structure and policies of Tanzania to identify their impact on the economic growth based on regional and international business transactions. Ally will be supervised by Dr. Andrew Young, Associate Professor of the WVU College of Business and Economics, whose research focuses on economic growth and development, as well as political economy. Ally has done a couple of researches including his most recent independent research experience working under Kenny Smith in studying the impact of nitrogen deposition as it alters nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. Ally is a dynamic member of two vibrant organizations, the African Student Association, and the International Business Organization of West Virginia University. Ally will be pursuing a postgraduate degree in Business Economics. Above all, Ally is a man of character and a student of life.
Candice McLaughlin is a rising senior at West Virginia University. As a non-traditional student, she balances raising her daughters, with her pursuit of an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. Her research will focus on current modern primitive body modification and societal norms. Her intent is to earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology and to continue to do Archaeological field work. In her free time she is a member of a fire performance troupe and participates in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Joi A. Newberne, of Forestville, MD, is currently a rising Sport & Exercise Psychology junior. During her leisure time, she enjoys listening to classical music, going to the gym, discovering new recipes and multimedia, watching movies and reading with a cup of tea. She has worked and is currently working as an administrative assistant for WVU’s Biochemistry and Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology departments. As a sophomore, she was selected to work as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Aaron Metzger’s Adolescent Development Lab (MAD Lab) for the remainder of her academic career here at West Virginia University. Joi’s McNair research project will be supervised by Dr. Metzger, Assistant Professor, Life Span Developmental Psychology, and will investigate the associations between parental behavioral control and adolescent information management strategies. Her research interests include identifying, preventing and intervening on the negative influences that affect the parent-child dyad. For her post-baccalaureate studies, she plans to enroll in a doctoral program in Family Science or Developmental Psychology and possibly gain licensure as Couples and Family Therapist.
Allie Nwosu is a senior from Oak Hill, WV. She is currently pursuing her bachelor of arts degree in Psychology with a minor in dance. She is a member of the Paul Robeson-Mahalia Jackson Gospel Choir, and the WVU Hip Hop Team. Allies McNair research focuses on if disability with social support has an effect on an individual being depressed. Upon the completion of her degree she plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Allie enjoys dancing, singing, and spending time with family and friends.
Donnique Sherman is a rising junior at West Virginia University from Cincinnati, OH. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. She is a WVU S.T.A.R Scholar and was in the first class to complete the Academy of Engineering Success. She is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. Her McNair research will be focused on the effectiveness of alternative fuels on single cylinder engines. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Renewable Energy Engineering. She enjoys playing soccer, watching movies, and reading.
Chelsea Slade is a senior from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan Area. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology with a double minor in Leadership Studies and Communication. She serves as the secretary of the WVU Chapter of the NAACP and is also a part of the National Society of Leadership and Success and Autism Speaks U at West Virginia University. Upon graduation, Chelsea intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Criminology and hopes to conduct research on incarceration and recidivism rates in the United States. She plans to use her research to institute programs for felons within the prison system so that they are better equipped to deal with the real world upon their release. Furthermore, Chelsea plans to create preventive programs in order to help at-risk youth. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and catching up on the latest social issues concerning people across the world.
Isaiah Taylor is a senior from Columbus, Ohio. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Africana Studies. Isaiah is involved on campus as a member of the Alpha Mu Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Paul Roberson/Mahalia Jackson Gospel Choir, Black Student Union, and Psychology Club. Isaiah plans on pursuing his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and master’s degree in education, with hopes of starting a school. Isaiah’s research will focus on racial identity development and academic achievement among college students of color. In his free time, Isaiah enjoys reading, listening to music, and cooking.
Rachael Taylor is a rising junior from Kingwood, West Virginia. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in Neuroscience in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University. Her primary interests in her studies include topics in behavioral neuroscience and neuropathic pain. Her McNair research will focus on treating neuropathic pain with alternative analgesics that act upon the endocannabinoid system. She will be conducting her research under the guidance of Dr. Steven Kinsey. Rachael is an active member of the undergraduate Neuroscience club, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, mountain biking, camping, attending concerts, and spending time with her family.
Leigh Ann Wilkins
Leigh-Ann Wilkins, of Lumberport WV, is a current student of senior status at West Virginia University. She is currently pursuing a dual degree in Economics and Psychology, and upon graduation she intends to pursue a Ph.D. in the field of economics. Leigh-Ann’s focus is Behavioral Economics and her McNair research will focus on the effects of personality and the formation of groups in economic games. She has worked in a social psychology lab since the beginning of 2013 and also done some minor research on the state of nature theory. Leigh-Ann enjoys spending time with her family, friends and animals, watching movies, being outside, and staying physically active.
Past McNair Scholars2013 Scholars