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November 29, 2007


CSU Dominguez Hills Awarded $1.1 Million for McNair Program
New cohort of undergraduates accepted for 2007-08 year

(Carson, CA) The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California State University, Dominguez Hills a $1.1 million grant to continue the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at the university for another four years beginning this academic year.

Additionally, 19 new students have been accepted into the research-intensive program. They, along with seven continuing McNair Scholars, comprise the first cohort of the new funding cycle.

The McNair Program’s mission is to prepare low-income, first generation and traditionally underrepresented students for doctoral study. Established by Congress in 1986, the program was named in honor of astronaut Ronald McNair, who, like most of the students in the program, faced a number of disadvantages growing up in a low-income family. He overcame such adversity to earn his Ph.D. and become the second African American in space. He died in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster.

The U.S. Department of Education administers funding to universities for the program through a competitive grant process. This is the second four-year grant awarded to Dominguez Hills.

“We were thrilled to be among the 181 universities to receive a McNair grant,” said Michelle Waiters, director of the CSUDH McNair Scholars Program. “CSUDH’s McNair Scholars are a source of pride for the university and represent the excellent guidance students receive from our faculty. We have a dynamic group of students and are looking forward to continued great success!”

The 19 new students in the program for 2007-08 — their major and hometown in parentheses — are Synthia Acuna (history; Torrance), Adan Alonso (Chicana/o studies; South Gate), Lyzette Blanco (psychology/sociology; San Pedro), Aerion Brown (Africana studies; Long Beach), Jessica Cardenas (sociology/psychology; Gardena), Jose Collazo Jr. (sociology/behavioral sciences; Huntington Park), Pauline Dixon (communications/theatre arts; San Diego), Raul Escobar-Rodas (math; Hollywood), Adriana Godoy (communications; Wilmington), Erica Gonzalez (Chicana/o studies/art; South Gate), Brenda Hernandez (sociology/psychology; Paramount), Ernesto Marinez Jr. (business administration; South El Monte), Kayla Mason (sociology; Los Angeles), Steven McGee (psychology; Wilmington), Brenda Medina-Hernandez (history; Long Beach), Xhercis Mendez (interdisciplinary studies; East Los Angeles), Itzel Olivares (Spanish/women’s studies; Wilmington), Patricia Quintana (anthropology/Spanish; Los Angeles), Mellonise Shorter (math/physics; Los Angeles).

Continuing in the program are Maria Aguirre (sociology; South Gate), Brandon Becker (psychology; Downey), Mario Carrasco (psychology; Downey), Nancy Gamino (Spanish; Wilmington), Jeffrey Govan (English; Compton), Mitchell Rosas (political science/economics; Long Beach), Heather Ruoti (psychology; San Pedro).

Jessica Cardenas, who transferred to CSU Dominguez Hills from Los Angeles Harbor College, chose to join the McNair cohort for “the support system they provide. It was a great opportunity for me, coming from a background where I don’t have anyone to fall back on to ask questions [about college]. This is the program for me.”

Since the 2003-04 academic year, approximately 50 students have participated in the McNair Program at Dominguez Hills. These students span the spectrum of academic disciplines and represent some of the most dedicated and hardest-working students on campus. Many CSUDH McNair Scholars balance work and/or family responsibilities with the academic rigors of the program, and they do so with great success.

The program at Dominguez Hills boasts a 100% graduation rate and a 93% graduate school acceptance rate. CSUDH McNair alumni are in master’s or doctoral programs across the country, including at several University of California campuses; Howard University, Cornell University, University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, University of Iowa, and CSUDH.

The McNair program is open to undergraduates with sophomore or higher status who are either first-generation college students from low-income families or from racial groups underrepresented in graduate degree programs. As McNair Scholars, the students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, participate in scholarly activities outside of the classroom, complete a research project in their field of study, and present that project at a research symposium. McNair students participate in workshops that inform and assist them on scholarship applications, entrance exam preparation, and applying to graduate school. They are also supported by McNair program staff, who provide guidance every step of the way, and faculty mentors, who work with them on-on-one with the research project.

For more information on the McNair program, visit www.csudh.edu/McNair or call (310) 243-2098.

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About CSU Dominguez Hills -- California State University, Dominguez Hills is a highly diverse, urban university located in the South Bay, primarily serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The university prides itself on its outstanding faculty and friendly, student-centered environment. Known for excellence in teacher education, nursing, psychology, business administration, and digital media arts, new degree programs include computer science, criminal justice, recreation and leisure studies, social work, and communication disorders. On campus is the Home Depot Center, a multi-purpose sports complex that hosts world-class soccer, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, and cycling.




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