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JCSU launches first cohort of Ronald McNair Scholars program

Ronald McNair Scholars Program

JCSU has chosen 17 students to be part of the University’s first cohort of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program, investing in the group through research experiments and scholarly activities in order to equip them for successful doctoral studies.

The induction ceremony took place Friday, February 9, 2018, in Grimes lounge and included food, the presentation of the cords, and a McNair alumna as a speaker. Students had the opportunity to meet President Clarence D. Armbrister individually, and he personally congratulated each one on their accomplishment.

“It feels good to be part of such a prestigious program, and it feels good to feel as an asset to my school,” said communication arts major Mayra Parrilla ’19.

McNair Scholars is a Federal TRIO program that includes assistance with the GRE and applications for graduate schools, and is funded by the U.S Department of Education with the goal of increasing graduate degree awards for minority students coming from low-income families, and who are first generation college graduates. The program was established in honor of the late Ronald E. McNair, a South Carolina native and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University who passed away in 1982, during the launch of the U.S Challenger space shuttle.

With the help of Dr. Antonio Henley, dean of University College, and under the directorship of Jonathan Smalls, JCSU started the program on campus in Fall 2017. A number of students applied for the opportunity to join the program and were selected for the interview process. From that pool, 17 students were chosen: communication arts major Shakoya Brown ’20, psychology major Delaya Davis ’20, chemistry major Miranda Davis ’19, community health major Georgina Diaz ’20, interdisciplinary studies major Ashley Green ’20, biology and chemistry major Shanice Harrison ’19, interdisciplinary studies major Mary Holliman ’19, biology major Christina Jones ’19, sport management major Charles Langston ’20, psychology major K’neadee Lester-Jackson ’20, biology major Emoni Lewis ’20, biology major Naoko Little-Jackson ’18, criminal justice major Quenton Mills ’19, biology major Jahvez Mitchell ’19, communication arts major Mayra Parrilla ’19, political science major LaRon Rhone ’20, and history major Aria Springfield ’20. 

So far, the students have attended Graduate College Day at Hampton University, where they had the opportunity to speak with representatives of different graduate programs. They also met a member of Hampton’s Board of Trustees, who is also a JCSU alumna. Many opportunities are ahead of these students, such as graduate school tours, cultural events and mentorship-building with experts in various fields of study.

“It’s an overwhelming experience but I am excited for it,” communication arts major Shikora Brown ’20 said. “I’m looking forward to realizing the greatness I and my fellows in the cohort have in store.”

By Beatriz Guerrero

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