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UW McNair Scholars Undergraduate Virtual Research Symposium July 27

July 20, 2020

The meaningful research will be the same, but the delivery of the program will change for the University of Wyoming’s 28th annual McNair Scholars Research Symposium Monday, July 27.

Thirteen McNair Scholars Program students will present individual work through a virtual format because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Research projects are the culmination of the students’ internships this past academic year.

The virtual symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. with welcoming remarks from Assistant Professor Anthony Roberts, of Colorado State University’s Department of Sociology. Student presentations follow and are scheduled throughout the day.

The symposium is an opportunity for McNair Scholars to share the progress and findings from their undergraduate research internships with the broader community of scholars, says Susan Stoddard, from the McNair Scholars Program. The program schedule is available on the McNair homepage at

Those interested in viewing the program can email to obtain the Zoom link.

Student presentations are from a diverse range of academic programs in animal science, astronomy, botany, chemistry, communication and journalism, computer science, criminal justice, physics, psychology and zoology.

UW’s McNair Scholars Program encourages undergraduate students from groups traditionally underrepresented in postbaccalaureate degree programs to pursue graduate studies by providing opportunities to define goals, engage in research, and develop the skills and student/faculty mentor relationships critical to success at the doctoral level.

Since the inception of the symposium in 1992, more than 65 socioeconomically disadvantaged and underrepresented UW students have earned doctoral degrees through participation in the McNair Scholars Program.

For more information, call Stoddard at (307) 766-6525 or email

UW McNair Scholars presenting work, listed by time, hometowns, majors, titles of their projects and UW mentors, are:

-- 8:40 a.m.: Madison McConnell, Burns, Ore., chemistry, “Synthesizing Pentahelicenebenzoquinone Using a Diels-Alder Reaction,” with Edward Clennan and Shambhavi Tannir.

-- 9 a.m.: Shayn Gilligan, Cottage Grove, Wis., astronomy, “Testing the Inside-Out Formation Theory for Galaxies,” with Danny Dale and Nathan Magno.

-- 9:20 a.m.: Rebecca Hinds, Loveland, Colo., physiology, “The Role of Competition in Dietary Niche Partitioning: A Case Study on the Wind River Range,” with Catherine Wagner and Lucia Combrick.

-- 9:40 a.m.: Justin Kinney, Casper, microbiology, “Temporal effects of yellow water lilies (Nuphar polysepala) on microbial communities and water chemistry in alpine lakes,” with Cynthia Weinig, Reilly Dibner and Gordon Custer.

-- 10:10 a.m.: Carlee Simpson, Batavia, Ill., zoology, “Food Preference of Captive Least Chipmunks (Tamias minimus),” with Merav Ben-David and Eric Quallen.

-- 10:30 a.m.: Jena Thompson, Canon City, Colo., zoology, “Effects of High Glycemic Index on the Structure and Function of Pig Ovaries,” with Brenda Alexander and Kristina Boss.

-- 10:50 a.m.: Julio Saenz, Port St. Lucie, Fla., computer science, “Pandemic and the Spread of Misinformation: A Case Study of Misinformation Spread during COVID-19,” with Diksha Shukla and Sindhu Reddy Kalathur Gopal.

-- 11:10 a.m.: Shaylee Conner, Riverton, psychology, “Marijuana protective behavioral strategies as a moderator of the effects of coping motives on negative-marijuana consequences in college student marijuana users,” with Alison Looby and Nicholas Livingston.

-- 12:30 p.m.: Sarah Glandt, Cheyenne, psychology, “Dieting and anxiety: The physiological response to ice cream among undergraduates,” with Kyle De Young and Christopher Mancuso.

-- 12:50 p.m.: Riley Thomas, Riverton, psychology, “Trauma Cognitions for Motor Vehicle Accidents: Differences between PTSD and PTSD with Additional Comorbidities,” with Joshua Clapp and Alicia Bachtel.

-- 1:10 p.m.: Melissa Villalva, Menifee, Calif., psychology, “The Correlations between the PINT Scale, Right Wing Authoritarianism, Left Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation,” with Benjamin Wilkowski and Emilio Rivera.

-- 1:30 p.m.: Brendan Schaefer, Sheridan, criminal justice, “An Examination of the War on Drugs based on the Merits of the Civilian Perspective vs. the Government Perspective-Defining a Pseudo Conflict that is ‘Insurmountable,’” with Daniel Fetsco and Jannat Hoque.

-- 1:50 p.m.: Deborah Cobb, Wright, communication and journalism, “Used, Abused and Erased: A Narrative Criticism of German Women, Children and Rape in WWII,” with Tracey Owens Patton and Lauren Johnson.

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