University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

19th Annual McNair Forum is April 18

UND's 19th Annual McNair Forum, in which undergraduate research is presented by McNair Program Scholars, will be held Thursday, April 18, 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., Ilse Coleman, “Seeking an Effective Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis”
9:20-9:40 a.m., Heather Annis, “Culturally Competent Social Work Practice: What is Needed in Working with Native Americans”
9:40-10 a.m., Kayla Ford, “Delay of Gratification and Delay Discounting in Children and their Parents”
10-10:20 a.m., Melissa Gibson, “Metric Analysis of Human Skeletal Elements”
10:20-10:40 a.m., Karen Borgen, “The Culture of Childhood Cancer and the Role of Social Worker”
10:40-11 a.m., Nichole Nelson, “To What Extent Does Substance Abuse Contribute to Placement of Children in Foster Care in Native American Families who Participate in Family Group Conferences”
11-11:20 a.m., Leslie Yellow Hammer, “Endophyte Impact on Western Wheatgrass, Western Wheatgrass Cultivar and the Soil Community”
11:20-11:40 a.m., Rachel Piwarski, “Structures of Power: Androgyny, Patriarchy, and Christ’s Love in Julian of Norwich’s A Revelation of Divine Love”
11:40 a.m.-1 p.m., Lunch (On your own)
1-1:20 p.m., Shelley Davis, “Observational Light Curves of Two Transiting Extrasolar Planets, Qatar1 and WASP33”
1:20-1:40 p.m.,Jason McCoy, “Exploring Exercises--an Alternative to Medicine”
1:40-2 p.m., Andy Erickson, “Autonomous Vehicles”
2-2:20 p.m., Garrett Jepsen, “Ruptures and Seismic Gaps of the Sundra Megathrust”
2:20-2:40 p.m., Rachel Hill, “Minnesota Urban Indian Fishing Treaty Rights”

About Ronald McNair
Ronald Erwin McNair, was born on October 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 BS 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.

Useful link: UND Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program:

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