2017 McNair Scholars
Major: Elementary Education
Mentor: Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa
Originally from Huntley, Montana, I am a first-generation college student majoring in Elementary Education with Science Option, within my senior year. With Dr. Jionna Carjuzaa as my mentor, we are looking at how storytelling can be integrated into the classroom by building relationships to improve student success. Before being accepted into the McNair Scholar Program graduate school was never an option for me. While I am unsure specifically which field I will specialize in, I do know that I want to change the world. As a McNair Scholar, I have recognized my potential and can see nothing but opportunities for me. I spend my time working with children during summer schools and tutoring programs. I believe diversity of all forms is to be celebrated!
Brianna Bull Shows
Mentor: Dr. Suzanne Held
I am from Pryor Montana. I am currently a junior pursuing a degree in Microbiology/Premed. I am doing research for the Messengers for Health program. It is based on the Crow reservation and focuses on chronic illness management.
My role in the program was writing a section of the manual for both the mentors and participants of the program with a focus on Patient Provider Communication. I created templates for them to take to their doctor’s visit. It included a letter to their provider telling them about the program and cultural things they should be aware of when taking care of Crow patients. It also provides additional information on how to pick a primary care provider and tips for communication.
My goal is to become a Family Practice Care Provider and to work on the Crow reservation. In addition, I want to start my own program that will focus on Diabetes prevention. The program I want to create will be for children and teens, and incorporate Crow culture.
Mentor: Dr. Jessi Smith
Originally from Massachusetts, I am a senior studying Psychology . My research is concerned with conflict mediation and resolution programs that will be implemented in Montana State University Residence Halls. My goal is to obtain a graduate degree in counseling. I love reading, art, playing sports, and spending time with people. As a McNair Scholar, I am challenged to be the best student that I can be!
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Vess
Originally from Hot Springs, Montana, I am a senior in the Psychology Department. I am applying for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate program at the University of Wyoming. My goal is to obtain my PhD and work with veterans. Eventually I would like to establish a nonprofit for veterans in hippotherapy. This summer I conducted research with Dr. Matthew Vess on true-self alienation and mind wandering. In my free time I like to fish, hike, hunt, and anything else that gets me outside.
Major: Electrical Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Anja Kunze
I grew up in Spokane Valley, Washington and am a Junior in Electrical Engineering. Over the past year I have been working with Dr. Anja Kunze of the Electrical end Computer Engineering department, studying the effects of nanomechanical stimulation on the growth and signalling of neurons. Eventually the research could be used to study Alzheimer's disease in the lab. My goal is to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering or a related field, and I would like to continue my research with neuron signalling and move onto brain-machine interface applications.
Major: HHD- Sustainable Foods
Mentor: Dr. Selena Ahmed
Originating from Southern Illinois, I am currently a senior in the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems program and has completed my minor in China Studies. I also hold an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science (Biology Concentration) from Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey, Illinois). My primary research question is exploring how producers can grow medicinal herbs in a commercial and economically viable setting that also have a functional quality which is comparable to plants that grow in a wild-setting. Further investigation of this topic will help to solve the problem of many plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine being over-harvested in the wild. This past summer I worked with Minzu University in Beijing, China. This time was spent evaluating medicinal herb use changes in indigenous and rural villages in Guizhou Province and a comparison of food diversity in Beijing markets and supermarkets. After graduation from Montana State, I plan on attending graduate school to study Traditional Chinese Medicine. Other future plans include practicing Chinese Medicine and growing/self-processing the medicinal herbs used in her practice.
Betheney (Birdie) Kushner
Mentor: Dr. Kristen Intemann
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Mentor: Randal Larimer, PE
I was born and raised in New York, I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Aerospace. This past year, I have been working with Randal Larimer PE and Dr. Berk Knighton in the MSGC Borealis high-altitude ballooning lab on campus. Over the summer our main goal was to be able to launch high-altitude balloons up to 80,000 feet and live stream to the NASA website during the full solar eclipse August 21st, 2017. In addition to launching balloons ourselves, we created a platform that 48 other schools, including High Schools and Universities, could use. These other schools had the same goal - to live stream to the NASA website during the eclipse and we were their support. My future plans include, attending graduate school along with working in the industry in order to assist our culture in becoming an interplanetary species.
Major: Organismal Biology
Mentor: Dr. Renee Reijo-Pera
I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where I spent my time fishing, playing hockey, and enjoying the great outdoors. I am a senior here at MSU majoring in Organismal Biology with a minor in Genetics. This summer, I worked with Dr. Renee Reijo-Pera and Benjamin Angulo. We investigated SMAD expression and its role in germ cell differentiation using pluripotent stem cells. When I graduate, I plan on attending medical school and becoming a physician with a focus on preventative and personalized genomic medicine.
Major: Community Health
Mentor: Dr. Suzanne Held
Originally from Bakersfield CA, I am currently a junior studying Community Health. My research with Dr. Held took place on the Crow Reservation and where I was able to work with Native American men and women and chronic health issues. I also enjoy working with children. My hobbies include reading and writing poetry. As a McNair Scholar I have embraced the value of growth that I have obtained as a student and person. I have met some amazing people while participating in the McNair Scholars Program and I am looking forward to using the programs preparation to succeed in graduate school!
Major: English Literature & Religious Studies
Mentor: Dr. Holly Grether
Major: Computer Science
Mentor: Dr. Brittany Fasy & Dr. David Millman
Born in Hamilton, Montana, I was raised in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley. Throughout my childhood, I enjoyed hiking in the mountains, hunting whitetail deer, and playing baseball. Having a keen interest in robotics, I came to Bozeman in 2013 to study engineering at Montana State University. As an undergraduate student, I'm currently working to get degrees in computer science and mathematics, and I will graduate in December 2018. I'm conducting research with Brittany Terese Fasy, PhD. and David L. Millman, PhD. on the topological structure of music. As part of this research, we are seeking to develop topological tools for representing music, which could be quite useful to topologists and musicians. In addition to my studies and research, I'm the team lead for the Bridger Robotics Team at MSU, which designs and builds a robot for the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition. This project is extremely exciting as we have to create a robot that can operate autonomously in a simulated martian environment. I also work as a software engineering intern at Blackmore Lidar in Bozeman, which designs lidar sensors for autonomous cars and defense applications. In my free time, I listen to music, play drums, watch movies, backpack, and go mountain biking on the trails around Bozeman. Once I graduate, I plan to attend graduate school to study robotics and autonomous systems.
Major: Financial Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Vincent Smith
I moved from Belfast, ME to Bozeman in 2011, and became a proud Bobcat in 2014. My current research, under the direction of my McNair mentor Dr. Smith, consists of understanding the affects of national healthcare policy on Montana residents and their access to healthcare through Medicaid. I have been accepted to present my research at the 2018 International Conference of Operations Research and Financial Engineering in London, UK. These research opportunities would not have been possible without the support I receive from the McNair Scholars Program. My goal is to attend graduate school at one of the graduate programs in my field.
When I am not studying, I like to skiing, climbing and adventuring in the wild outdoors that makes Montana great. I also enjoy drinking tea and reading or gaming for a quiet night at home.
Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Rink
I was born in Spokane, Washington, and I have been fortunate enough to have lived in multiple locations across the United States. I spent the most recent half of my childhood in Great Falls, Montana where my family currently resides. I am pursuing a dual degree, and will be graduating in the spring of 2019. My Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, and my Bachelor of Arts in French and Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Global/Multicultural Studies and a concentration in Europe. My McNair mentor is the fabulous Dr. Elizabeth Rink. I am very fortunate to be working with Dr. Rink on her long-term research project studying public health in Greenland. More specifically, we are focusing on sexual and reproductive health among the Inuit. After graduating from Montana State University, I plan to acquire my Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. After obtaining my Ph.D., I aspire to become a professor of Anthropology. In addition to being a McNair Scholar, my interests include teaching English as a foreign language, volunteering as a mentor to local school children, being active in the French club, and learning foreign languages.
Mentor: Dr. Colter Ellis & Dr. Kelly Knight
Major: Elementary Education
Mentor: Dr. Megan Wickstrom
I graduated from Ennis High School in southwest Montana. I am currently a senior majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Special Education. I am conducting a case study with my McNair mentor, Dr. Megan Wickstrom. We are researching how mathematical modelling can impact a student's perception on their math ability in the classroom. For this research, we will be working with students in an academic environment to gain a richer understanding on how students define their own mathematical “smartness”. Because there is little research on this topic in the elementary classroom setting, the main goal is to focus on mathematics from the student’s perspective to help educators understand how they can continue to nurture the growth of their students. I love Bozeman very much and my ultimate goal is to be able to attend graduate school at Montana State University.