McNair Scholars graduating class achieves program excellence

The program’s 2017 cohort reaches unprecedented heights

Graduating McNair Scholars students pose with the pennants of their chosen graduate programs in the TriO/McNair Offices in the Pennington Student Achievement Center.

5/18/2017 | By: Alexa Solis |

Thousands of graduates will be descending upon the University of Nevada, Reno quad in the coming days to receive their hard-earned degrees. Among them will be nine graduating McNair Scholars. The McNair Scholars program is dedicated to increasing the number of first-generation, income qualified, underrepresented students in graduate programs through mentoring and graduate school preparatory programs and initiatives during the scholar's undergraduate career.

The 2017 McNair Scholars cohort is one of the most successful in program history. Not only did eight of the nine scholars get accepted into a PhD program, but the students in the cohort were also awarded prestigious awards by both the University and nationally recognized institutions. Michelle Furhman, chemistry, and Josue Regalado, neuroscience, were each awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; Kirsten Casey, physics, was named the Undergraduate Regents Scholar; and Heather Gilmore, criminal justice, received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research.

The McNair Scholars program includes a nine-week summer program where students work with faculty mentors to complete an original research project which is later presented at a McNair Conference. Students also earn a $3,500 stipend for completing their research. The program also facilitates Graduate Record Examinations preparatory classes as well as provides guidance during the application process and financial aid counseling.

"McNair Programs around the country play a key role in developing extremely talented students who can bring diverse perspectives to higher education through their research and future contributions as graduate students," Perry Fittrer, assistant director of the McNair Scholars program, said.

McNair Scholar Cuyler Beatty, a student majoring in physics with a minor in mathematics, expounded upon the usefulness of the program. Not only was Beatty able to work with a mentor who helped him develop his research question and guide him through the research process, but he was also able to apply to 17 graduate programs in the summer before his senior year, allowing him to remain focused on his studies and maintain his grade point average.

"I was a mechanic before I went back to school because I was never really told that I could do college," Beatty said. "The McNair Scholars program had the first group of people who really believed in me to do these things, while the path to graduate school definitely comes from the individual, it was really nice to have a support group."

For more information about the McNair Scholars program, or information on how to apply visit their website.

Graduating McNair Scholars and their graduate programs include: Cuyler Beatty, West Virginia University, Physics; Kirsten Casey, The Ohio State University, Physics; Nicole Claiborne, University of California, Davis, Neuroscience; Jacob Fausett, University of Nevada, Reno, Physics; Michelle Furhman, California Institute of Technology, Chemistry; Heather Gilmore, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Criminology & Criminal Justice; Adam Kirosingh, Stanford University, Microbiology and Immunology; Cordero Nuanez, University of California San Diego, Materials Science; Josue Regalado, Rockefeller University, Rockefeller Graduate Program in Neuroscience


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