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The College of St. Scholastica

The TRIO McNair Scholars program at The College of St. Scholastica hosted the 2023 McNair Summer Research Symposium on Wednesday, Sept. 27. At the symposium, 10 participants presented academic posters describing their summer research to the St. Scholastica community, as well as the general public. The symposium provided attendees with the opportunity to meet the McNair scholars, ask questions about their research and hear first-hand how the program has impacted their educational journeys.

McNair scholars worked closely with faculty members from St. Scholastica, the University of Minnesota Duluth and beyond to complete rigorous research projects over the course of the summer. Research ranged in academic disciplines from biology to economics to public health. One student, Phineas Kiprop, was even selected to complete research through the highly competitive American Economic Association Summer Program at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

A sampling of research projects presented by McNair Scholars included:

  • Hearing Color: A Musical Exploration into Light–Sound Relationships
  • Cross-Race Friendships Among Black College Students
  • Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Northeastern Minnesota Surface Waters
  • Testing the Efficacy of Broadband Sound and Carbon Dioxide to Deter Big Headed Carp in a Model Lock and Dam System

Troy Abfalter, director of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program, shared that the symposium helps open up doors for participants of the program. “You can see the students’ confidence and energy rise while they are presenting research at the symposium,” shared Abfalter. “It becomes real when people are stopping by, excited to learn more, looking to you as the expert on your project. The students realize that they are scholars.”

About the McNair Scholars program

St. Scholastica’s McNair Scholars program inspires and empowers the McNair student community to succeed in research, graduate studies and advanced careers. Serving students from The College of St. Scholastica, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Lake Superior College and the University of Minnesota Duluth, the McNair student community specifically includes first-generation college students with financial need and underrepresented students of color.

The McNair Scholars program is a federal TRIO program funded through the U.S. Department of Education and has been continuously funded since 1995; the grant award for fiscal year 2024 is $305,049.

For more information on the TRIO McNair Scholars program, including eligibility and application components, please visit the TRIO page.

Students presenting research at the McNair Symposium