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NDSU McNair Scholars exchange research at California conference

Posted on 9/5/2013

A group of NDSU students within the McNair Scholars Program are getting the chance to present their research nationwide as the university celebrates its 25th year hosting the program.

Six undergraduate students attended the 21st annual Ronald E. McNair California Scholars Symposium Aug. 1-4 at the University of California, Berkeley. The symposium's theme was "McNair Scholars: Creating the Discourse."

In addition to keynote speakers and a series of plenary and breakout sessions, the students learned about the graduate school application process from admissions staff and former McNair Scholars. "Learning about and meeting graduate schools was a definite highlight as well as meeting other undergraduate McNair Scholars and being able to discuss ideas with them," said Krystal Kalliokoski, a chemistry and chemistry education major from Bottineau, N.D.

Five NDSU students presented research projects at the event. Kalliokoski presented twice on research she has conducted on the development of novel methods for the conversion of renewable resources to feedstock chemicals for use in polymer synthesis. Her topic was titled "How to Save the World: Renewable Resources Come to the Rescue."

Other presentations included:

Tanner Barnharst, a microbiology major from Minneapolis, presented "Murine Model of Fungal Asthma to Mimic Human Asthma"
Mary Hedrick, a chemistry major from Hope, Ind., presented "Theoretical Study of Capping Ligands and Metal Complexes on PbSe, CdSe and ZnO Quantum Dots"
Jane Loueng, a pharmacy major from Dilworth, Minn., presented "Evaluation of Two Brief Literacy Prediction Tools for Predicting Understanding of Prescription Label"
Kathy Mok, a medical laboratory science and microbiology major from Fargo, presented "‘Inactuation' of RNA Viruses via Gamma-Irradiation for Vaccine Development"
Jordan Engelke, an English major from Fargo, attended the conference but did not present.

The students also toured the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford.

NDSU is one of 14 original universities chosen in 1989 to host a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The program was established by Congress, funded by the U.S Department of Education and named for astronaut and physicist Ronald E. McNair. The program is designed to provide disadvantaged college students with effective preparation for doctoral study.

Students who have completed or nearly completed their freshman year, are either income eligible and first generation college students or from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and considering study beyond the baccalaureate degree, are invited to apply for the program.

Seven NDSU McNair Scholars also are slated to attend the 21st annual McNair Scholars Research Conference at University of Maryland Baltimore County Sept. 20-21.

More information on the symposium is available at

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