Student Testimonials

Moises Ponce ‘20
PhD student, Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Tennessee

 

 

Tell us what is your favorite aspect of being a McNair Scholar?
My favorite part of McNair is the community! I love doing research and preparing for graduate studies, but it is so much more fun when you are around people who are passionate about what they do. I love McNair people (and also snacks sometimes)!!

What was the most beneficial resource(s) you received as being part of the program?
The most beneficial resources gained from the program are my mentors. Dr. Christmann, Dr. Black, and Dr. Ung have been there to help me with any issue, to guide me through research and to teach me about graduate school and the opportunities for me. The program provides so many great resources to prepare you for graduate school, but my mentors’ support in me succeeding and being better are unmatched.

What advice would you give students considering the program?
First, remember that being in McNair is such a special thing and that you deserve to be in McNair! Second, please, PLEASE take hold of the opportunities in front of you. Dr. Ung and Dr. Black work and fight for us to have the best, but they cannot get you where you want to go or give you success, but they will be there to make it possible for you. There are so many opportunities and experiences waiting for you. Sometimes you will have to work for them, but this program makes it within reach.

How has your McNair experience prepared you for graduate study?
My research experience through McNair has taught me about graduate schools and what it means to conduct independent research. McNair has also taught me the importance of connecting with people and the importance of collaboration. I have learned better communication skills which I now know is vital for any field of graduate study.

 

Alanis Stansberry ‘21
PhD student, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama, Birmingham

 

 

Tell us what was your favorite aspect of being a McNair Scholar?
My favorite aspect of being a McNair Scholar was the community built around the program. Being around others who want to go to graduate school as well, and being with a dedicated staff made applying and getting accepted into your program much more enjoyable.

What was the most beneficial resource(s) you received as being part of the program?
One of the most helpful resources available in Lee's McNair Program is the staff involved. My mentor Dr. Ung made sure that I was on track with everything I needed to complete before certain deadlines approached. Not only that, but they bend over backwards to find grants and schools that may interest you.

What advice would you give students considering the program?
Coming into the program, I didn't have a clue on what program I wanted to study, let alone which schools I wanted to apply to. However, I knew I wanted to receive my doctorate in the field of Mathematics/Engineering. It doesn't matter if you have your whole life figured out. If you have a desire to get a Masters or a Doctorate, apply to become a McNair Scholar.

How has your McNair experience prepared you for graduate study?
McNair prepared me more than just providing leaflets of graduate studies. The most helpful thing is the emotional training instructions they provided. They stress that being the most intelligent person in the room does not guarantee success in a graduate study. The student with the most grit will get the job done!

 

Garrett Mikulka ‘19
PhD student, English Literature
Indiana University

 

 

Tell us what was your favorite aspect of being a McNair Scholar?
The assurance that there were people and funds available to give me opportunities and experiences that would prepare me for graduate school.

What was the most beneficial resource(s) you received as being part of the program?
The summer research project. Many incoming graduate students have not had the opportunity to complete a project of that size. It’s an advantage to begin grad school having already completed it.

What advice would you give students considering the program?
Push yourself when it comes to the summer research project. No matter how meticulous your research is now, more will be required of you in graduate school. The more experience you have with high academic standards, the narrower the gap will be between your undergraduate and graduate study.

How has your McNair experience prepared you for graduate study?
The summer research project and the opportunity to attend conferences have directly prepared me for graduate study. Both of those activities are commonplace in graduate school, so the early exposure is helpful.

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