McNair Forum At UND Features Undergraduate Research

The University of North Dakota’s 23rd Annual McNair Forum, in which undergraduate research is presented by McNair Program Scholars, will be held Thursday, April 27, in the Memorial Union River Valley Room.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, named after NASA astronaut Ronald McNair who died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, is funded by the United States Department of Education and is operated under the University’s Division of Student Affairs.

The McNair Program encourages students to prepare for graduate studies by providing opportunities to define goals, engage in research and to develop the skills and student faculty mentor relationships vital to success at the doctoral level. Participants are low-income, first-generation juniors or senior students from a group underrepresented at the doctoral level of targeted departments.

The forum schedule, presenters, and topics follow.

  • 9-9:20 a.m., Alexandra Rehovsky, “Neuropsychology & Eating Behaviors.”
  • 9:20-9:40 a.m., Caitlyn Shoulder, “Institutionalized in an Alien Environment: Orphanages.”
  • 9:40-10 a.m., Selena Garza, “Rape Culture–Are Students Willing to Accept this?”
  • 10-10:20 a.m., Shelley Davis, “Observational Light Curves for the Transiting Extrasolar Planets WASP 10b, WASP-3, and WASP-76b.”
  • 10:20-10:40 a.m., Manna Khan, “North Dakota Temperature Change.”
  • 10:40-11 a.m., Tori Plant, “Men and Masculinity.”
  • 11-11:20 a.m., Sandra Kruse, “The Equal Rights Amendment in North Dakota”
  • 11:20-11:40 a.m., Sashay Schettler, “Native Women in the Media.”
  • 11:40-12 p.m., La Jaun Willis III, “Hope for a Better Nation.”
  • 12-1 p.m., Lunch (On your own)
  • 1-1:20 p.m., Kelsey Butler, “The Components of Reading that Predict Improvement in Reading Comprehension with Extended Time.”
  • 1:40-2 p.m., Jordan Rudnik, “Altering Students’ Performance Expectations.”
  • 2-2:20 p.m., Jessica Fairley, “Review of Lyme Disease Host & Pathogen Relationships.”
  • 2:20-2:40 p.m., Kelsey Morin, “Treating livestock to reduce malaria transmission in Latin America.”
  • 2:40-3 p.m., Thomas Devine, “Kernal Density Estimation: E(x) & V(x).”
  • 3:00-3:20 p.m., Flint Devine, “Different methods to combat commercial sexual exploitation in North Dakota.”


About Ronald McNair
Ronald Erwin McNair was born on Oct. 21, 1950, in Lake City, S.C., to Carl and Pearl McNair. He attended North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where, in 1971, he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in physics. In 1976 he earned his Ph.D. degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

McNair’s many distinctions include: Presidential Scholar (1967-71), Ford Foundation Fellow (1971-74), and National Fellowship Fund Fellow (1974-75). He was also named Omega Psi Phi Scholar of the Year (1975), was honored as the Distinguished National Scientist by the National Society of Black Professional Engineers (1979), and received the Friend of Freedom Award (1981).

Ronald E. McNair was nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics. In 1978, he was one of 35 applicants selected from a pool of ten thousand for NASA’s space shuttle program and assigned as a mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the shuttle Challenger. On his first space shuttle mission in February 1984, McNair orbited the earth 122 times aboard Challenger. He was the second African American to fly in space.

In addition to his academic achievements, he received three honorary doctorates and numerous fellowships and commendations. He was also a sixth degree black belt in karate and an accomplished jazz saxophonist. He was married to Cheryl Moore and had two children, Reginald Ervin and Joy Cheray. On the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, McNair and his six crew members died in an explosion aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

For more information, contact Jill Teters, program coordinator, TRIO Programs, at 777.4931 or