Building a Better Future by Preparing Ph.D.s for Tomorrow

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 9:00 AM
B214 (GWCC)
Wendy Diaz, Kean University, Union, NJ; and P. J. Croft and J. Toney

The McNair Program at Kean University was designed to promote Ph.D. studies in the sciences for low-income, first generation and traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students through faculty mentorship, scholarly research and support services. This program, administered through the College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences is a year-round program comprised of two components: 1) Summer Research Institute and 2) Academic Year Component. During the summer students participate in a residential five-week program to conduct research supervised by faculty mentors as well as GRE prep and seminars for the graduate admissions process, academic counseling, cultural enrichment, personal development workshops and campus visits. Students are selected from a pool of applicants and from a variety of STEM disciplines (e.g., mathematics and statistics, biology, chemistry, atmospheric science, computer science, and others). During the Academic Year Component, they continue their research and participate in symposiums throughout the nation, attend special seminars and other scholarly activities. They also receive assistance in applying for graduate schools, identifying sources of financial aid and completing the admissions process. Overall the program offers benefits such as: faculty mentorship, room and board for the SRI, academic and career counseling, college credits for ongoing research, stipends (up to $2,800), GRE prep and graduate application fee waivers, cultural enrichment and personal development seminars, participation in national and local symposia and colloquia and campus visits to graduate schools. In the first year of the program students completed and presented research projects that were cross- and trans-disciplinary in nature including: Fractal Dimensions for Cell Measurement, Introduction to Theory and Application Wavelets, Investigations of Metal Complex DNA Binding Using Capillary Electrophoresis, Gene Sequencing to Understand Evolution in the Fungal Family Mytilinidiaceae, Web 2.0 and Multimedia, 3-Dimensional Programming Languages as a Utility for Undergraduate Education, Statistical Genetic Data Analysis, Competition Within the Hymenoptera Associated With Host-Marking, The Effect of Plant-Weather Conditions on Pollen Production, FDA Regulations Regarding the NDA Process, Clinical Trials, and Introduction to Adaptive Designs. Current projects include Inorganic synthesis of (bipy2Mdpp) with the use of first row transition metals, Purification of cholera-infected water using a solar cooker, DNA sequencing to resolve phologenetic relationships among species within the genus Mytilinidion (Mytilinidiaceae, Ascomycota), Metal and 8-8' biquinolinyl complex, Design of an umbrella solar cooker, A Wireless Sensor Network for Environmental Monitoring and Modeling, Convective Research for Operational Forecasting and Training, Fog Depiction using GIS Analysis, Interface Design for Scientists using Carbon Sequestration Models, Computational Efficiency of the Hungarian Method, Observation in Golay Codes, Malware Identification by Network Anomalies, Observations on the Solution of the Kakuro Puzzle, Sudoku and some of its Group-Theoretic Properties, Algebraic Properties of the Ken Ken Puzzle, and Visualizations for Increased Understanding and Learning for K-8 Students in Sciences.

Participant outcomes have included acceptance into Ph.D. programs, presentation of research work at local, regional, and national conferences (including an honorable mention award), the development of manuscripts and technical documentation, participation in seminar, symposia, and colloquia series, and selection to competitive summer research institute programs. Program achievements and future plans will be presented to highlight the holistic setting and preparation used in the Kean University McNair Program.