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McNair Scholars 2013-2014 Cohort

Grace Ahn is a senior in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences studying Biological Sciences and Information Science. Her research interests involve utilizing biochemistry and RNA gene silencing approaches to address protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Huntingdon’s Disease. Grace plans to pursue an MD/PhD to apply her interests in the biomedical sciences to either academia or the medical field.

Fredrick Blaisdell Shekóli! Fred ni yúkyats. On^yote?aká ni? (Hello! My name is Fred and I am from the Oneida Nation of the Thames). In the College of Arts and Sciences, Fred is currently assisting on various projects in the O’Brien Lab and working with Dr. Angela Gonzales to achieve his career goals. After Cornell, he plans to continue in education to receive an MD/PhD and return to the Oneida territory to help with community health projects.

Desmond Caulley is an ECE major in the College of Engineering and is particularly interested in signal processing. He loves to interpret information and manipulate information so it can be useful. Currently, he is doing research in imaging circulating tumor cells. It is his introduction into works with developing biomedical devices. Desmond’s career plans include attaining a PhD and becoming a professor to share his knowledge with the next generation.

Trenel Francis is enrolled in the College of Human Ecology and interested in human development and family studies, specifically surrounding marriage and family relationships. As a recently admitted McNair Scholar, she plans to do research with Professor Robert Sternberg on how college students view love and marriage. Trenel’s future career plans include becoming a Professor and Counseling Psychologist, or a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Mariela Garcia Arredondo is a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and interested in understanding the terrestrial biogeochemical cycles and their impact on natural and anthropogenic systems. She is hoping to work more on heavy metals and carbon sequestration, their implications to our natural environments and what aspects of the bio- and geo- affect their natural cycles. She hopes to one day become a professor after working for an international organization as a researcher that investigates these complex interconnections to help mitigate and further understand contaminant exposure and climate change. Mariela believes that everyone has the right to delve deep into the kinds of subjects that pull at their heartstrings and equal opportunity at an academically successful career, which is why she is proud to be part of and involved in McNair!

Misha Inniss-Thompson is a senior in the College of Human Ecology, where she majors in Human Development with minors in Inequality Studies and Africana Studies. She is currently working on her honors thesis, which will consist of research about gender and racial discrimination, and the coping mechanisms that people use when dealing with such issues. More broadly, Misha is interested in how race and ethnicity impact identity development, and how these cultural identifiers impact educational attainment. Ultimately, Misha hopes to attain a doctoral degree in either Applied or Community Psychology. After receiving her doctorate, Misha plans join academia as a professor, while also engaging in non-profit education work.

Nerla Jean-Louis is enrolled in the College of Engineering and has research interests in regenerative medicine and stem cell research. Her career plans are to become a college professor and conduct research.

Joe Nathan Lindsey is an Agricultural Science, Plant Science double major from Atlanta, GA. This past summer, he worked with Professor Tim Setter investigating the effects of spray adjuvants on compounds affecting flowering mechanisms in cassava (Manihot esculenta). Joe's future career goals include working with developing nations to increase food security in a sustainable manner.

Taylor McGuire has research interests that include studying both the effects of poverty on development and adolescent psychopathology and suicide. A student in the College of Human Ecology, her plans are to ultimately receive a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and in her lifetime work in a private practice and eventually work as a professor at the university-level.

Maritza Medina-Olazaran is in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and her research interests are in law and society, race/ethnicity, and inequality studies. With McNair's support, she has conducted research through the Labor and Employment Law Program on employment discrimination against people with criminal records. In this role, she was able to gain skills that aligned perfectly with her credit internship at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York City. Following her graduation from Cornell, Maritza hopes pursue a JD/PhD where she intends to practice law and continue her work with legal research.

Dhruy Patel is a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is interested in the intersection between plant molecular biology and genetics, seeking to better understand the underlying molecular basis of plant defense and development. With the help of the McNair Scholars program, he plans to pursue a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology and use that knowledge to develop higher yielding crop varieties. Dhuruy hopes that one day he will be able to educate others about the benefits and implications of modern crop development, in light of a rapidly gflex-3ing world population.

Stephen Salerno is enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his academic interests include biostatistics and how it is applied in medical research. Through the McNair Program, he hopes to continue on to graduate school and obtain a Ph.D in his respective field so that he may further statistical methodology in the fields of Public Health and Epidemiology.

Xiaolu Wen is enrolled in the College of Engineering, Xiaolu and is interested in pursuing a career where she participates in the advancement of scientific research geared towards the improvement of healthcare. She wants to revolutionize the way people live. As a McNair Scholar, Xialou is given the opportunity to bring action to her words.

Jennifer Zhu is a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences whose career goal after college is to attend graduate school and develop research interest in marine biology, ecology, and conservational biology. With aid and guidance from the McNair Program, she wishes to pursue a Ph.D. in biological research.