McNair conference to promote research careers


The Binghamton University McNair Scholars program will host this year’s McNair Undergraduate Research Conference April 3 to 5, at the Holiday Inn Arena in downtown Binghamton.

The McNair Scholars program was named after Ronald McNair, a physicist who lost his life in the 1986 Challenger disaster. The program is one of the TRIO Programs funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare highly talented undergraduates of under-represented minorities, from low-income backgrounds or from families with no previous college graduates to pursue doctoral degrees.

More than 110 undergraduate students from 22 colleges and universities around the country will join Binghamton University’s 35 McNair Scholars at the conference. Participating schools include California State University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado-Denver and North Carolina A&T State University.

The McNair Undergraduate Research Conference will allow students to share their research experiences with their peers and other scholars in their discipline. Students will be given an opportunity to present a thesis proposal in a national academic setting. The scholars will give an oral presentation of their research, citing relevant conceptual and theoretical bases, and stating what can be gained from it.

The conference will feature Robert L. Belle Jr., EdD, as a guest speaker at the opening dinner at 7:15 p.m. April 3. Belle is a part of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), serving as director for the SREB Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professorate. He has also served as director of the Office of Federal TRIO Programs for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

Topics to be discussed in breakout sessions on Friday, April 4, include women’s rights in Muslim and Christian countries, eating disorders, the makings of psychopaths, and moral controversy of stem cell research. Additional topics include HIV/AIDS, the effects of cranberries on breast cancer cells and human rights in Africa.

Binghamton alumnus Colin Lord, associate dean of admission at Hamilton College, will deliver the luncheon keynote address at noon, April 4. Lord’s presentation is titled “If I Had a Hammer; Maintaining Socio-political Commitment in Academia.” Lord will share his extensive background in higher education, which includes minority recruitment, merit scholarship program coordination and working with corporate sponsors.

Last Updated: 9/17/13