Texas Tech University

McNair Scholars 2019-2020

Class of 2021

  • Jazzlan Barefield
    • Mentor: Vallia Antoniou, Physics & Astronomy
  • Britney Barrios
    • Mentor: 
  • Juanita Benjamin
    • Mentor: Tommy Dang, Computer Science
  • Alyin Castillo-Flores
    • Mentor: Brandy Pina-Watson, Psychology
  • Daniel Holguin-Caldera
    • Mentor: Neo McAdams, Geology & Geophysics
  • Javon Johnson
    • Mentor: Ori Swed, Sociology
  • Joe Juarez
    • Kristin Hutchins, Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Samantha Kordahi
    • Mentor: Brandy Pina-Watson, Psychology
  • Luis Ledezma-Loa
    • Mentor: Andrew Shin, Nutritional Sciences
  • Kaevyn Maple
    • Mentor: Adam Schmidt, Psychology
  • Britney Mapp
    • Mentor: Peter Keyel, Biological Sciences
  • Eric Nelson, Jr.
    • Mentor: Molly Ireland, Psychology
  • Karina Puente
    • Mentor: Burak Aksak, Mechanical Engineering

Class of 2020

  • Sidney Abeyta
    • "Innovation in Educational Startups"
    • Mentor: Luiz Martinez, Business, Trinity University
    • This research analyzes how individuals can effectively jumpstart their career and land employment without the need of a traditional college degree as precursor to the job market. To answer this question, we studied college alternative programs, their claims and participants who participated in the program. In today's traditional college scheme, there are two major problems students face. The first, is the amount of rising college debt and percentage of those with debt. Second, students' feeling unprepared in skills to enter the job market. This includes landing a successful job in the market, their respective major leading to a good job, and their performance in the workplace. Our results are in progress, and in the phase of determining which methods are best for collecting and visually showing the data.
  • Marqui Benavides
    • "Validity of Body Volume Estimates from Infrared 3-dimensional Scanning and Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry as Compared to Air Displacement Plethysmography"
    • Mentor: Grant Tinsley, Kinesiology
    • Traditional methods of estimating body volume (BV) such as hydrostatic weighing and air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) could theoretically be replaced using BV estimates obtained by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or infrared 3-dimensional (3D) scanning devices. Multiple 3D scanning technologies have recently become popularized and while these technologies currently predict body composition based primarily on circumference estimates, the BV estimates obtained could be used to predict body composition if the BV estimates are validated. The purpose of this analysis was to examine the validity of BV estimates obtained from DXA-derived formulas and multiple types of 3D scanners as compared to ADP.
  • Gabriella Hale
    • "Investigating the Physiological Responses in Arabidopsis FKF1 mutant"
    • Mentor: Venugopal Mendu, Plant and Soil Sciences
    • This research explores the complex phenomena of cellulose biosynthesis. We are working with a specific blue light receptor mutant (fkf1) which showed enhanced cellulose and chlorophyll contents compared to wild type plants. It is hypothesized the mutants have higher photosynthetic efficiency due to enhanced chlorophyll content. Controlled environment plant growth chambers are being constructed to measure CO2 gas exchange. Differences in gas exchange will allow for measurements of photosynthetic and respiration rates. This research will increase the understanding of how the FKF1 protein is modulating physiological responses in order to co-ordinate development with delayed flowering time and increased cellulose content.
  • Colton Hernandez
    • "Identifying cells types capable of providing protection against the development of Lupus"
    • Mentor: Peter Keyel, Biological Sciences
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a debilitating autoimmune disease which affects upwards of 1.5 million Americans by prompting an inflammation response in healthy tissues and organs. Currently, there are no specific treatment options available. The inactivation of the Dnase1L3 gene is known to promote pediatric onset lupus by allowing the accumulation of autoantibodies which signal an inflammation response against the host. A population of mice with a conditional knockout mutation in their macrophage cells will be monitored for signs of increased autoantibodies. Our goal is to assess the role of macrophages in providing protection against the symptoms associated with SLE.
  • Amber Lopez
    • "First-Generation College Students: Evaluating Family Support as a Protective Factor for Academics and Depression"
    • Mentor: Brandy Pina-Watson, Psychology
    • The purpose of my research is to analyze the relationship between depression, family support, and academic in the lives of first-generation college students (FGCS). I want to find a way to help FGCS prepare and navigate through college effectively. Also, I will analyze the familial protective factor to determine if family support protects academics and depression for FGCS. The participants who meet the criteria of FGCS and age 18-25 will complete an online survey on Qualtrics that include multiple questionnaires that take approximately 45 minutes. Compensation will include either 1 SONA credit for PSY 1300 or a $5 gift card.
  • Clayton Miller
    • "Mechanisms for Onset Instabilities in Highly Viscoelastic Flows at Moderate Mach Numbers"
    • Mentor: Gordan Christopher, Mechanical Engineering
    • An examination of the upstream and downstream instabilities that occur for highly confined and bounded viscoelastic flows around a cylinder is presented. An elasticity number-Mach number (El-Ma) phase space is used to demonstrate that the onset of downstream instabilities at Ma=1; these instabilities are instigated by the disturbance of the base flow by traveling elastic waves. After the onset of the downstream instability, an upstream instability eventually occurs for Macrit ~10; however, this number is affected by both channel geometry and fluid properties. The upstream instability is instigated by perturbations of the flow field caused by the downstream instability and does not occur until a critical perturbation size at a given velocity is exceeded. The effects of these flow regimes on flow resistance are characterized by examining excess pressure drop; a significant increase in flow resistance is observed at the onset of the upstream instability.
  • Franco Navas
    • "Robustification of the Student's t-test statistic for comparing two means"
    • Mentor: Min Wang, Math & Statistics
    • In this presentation, we propose two robustified analogues of the pooled-variance t-statistic based on independent (unpaired) samples for testing the equality of two population means without assuming the homogeneity of their variances. The test statistics are derived based on a combined use of the sample median and the median absolute deviation estimators, and the Hodges Lehmann and Shamos estimators, respectively. Thus, they are quite robust under a certain level of data contamination that often occurs during practical applications. The finite sample performances of the proposed test statistics are illustrated using an extensive simulation study and a real-data application.
  • Rebekkah Navas
    • "Sustainability in the retail sector: The application of Blockchain as an alternative to ecolabels"
    • Mentor: Samina Khan, Design
    • The fashion industry is one of the world's largest consumer industries, with rising concerns over environmental and social conditions. Advances in technology, particularly Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain, can provide the apparel industry with revolutionary changes. The need for consistent ecolabelling sources could be realized industry-wide by utilizing Blockchain technology, and could serve to validate a company's sustainability claim by introducing transparency to a retailer's supply chain. This study aims to investigate potential consumer interaction with Blockchain data supporting sustainability initiatives, which can validate growth in the application of Blockchain data and lead to a shift in consumer culture.
  • Juliet Owuor
    • "Quality Assessment of Plant Transpiration Water for Recirculating Greywater Hydroponic Culture"
    • Mentor: Andrew Jackson, Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering
    • Hybrid life support systems can provide sustainable water and air, while simultaneously providing a portion of the habitation food. To minimize potable water consumption, biologically treated greywater could be used for plant growth. Outrageous romaine seedlings were grown in bins over a 4-week growth period. Half of the seedlings were fed with a distilled water adjacent to an identical set fed with greywater. We evaluated plant HC by collecting plant condensate, tracking pH levels, TDS, and biofilm formation. Our findings suggest that a biologically stabilized greywater hydroponic solution can be successfully used as water replacement in hybrid life support systems.
  • Nelly Rubio-Rayas
    • "The Characterization of the Dietary habits of Alligator mississippiensis from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana"
    • Mentor: Lou Densmore, Biological Sciences
    • This study aims to characterize Alligator mississippiensis, food habits in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana. analyzing dietary variation will allow researchers to understand how food habits relate to different life stages of this crocodilian species. 128 alligator stomachs were collected to later be assessed and categorized into organismal classes. We hypothesize that there will be greater overlap between similar sized alligators that will narrow as size differs. The goal is to obtain an updated reservoir on the dietary habits that alligators in this region possess thus allowing us to observe their impact on the environment.
  • Juridia Roman
    • "The Influence of Social Media Platforms on Funding for the Beauty Industry"
    • Mentor: Alejandra Marin, Industrial Engineering
    • Although the origination of YouTube was based as a video sharing platform for amateur content it quickly became a key factor in the success of beauty companies. YouTube contains over 1.5 million beauty-related videos since 2015. Success factors such as originality, brand image, and viewer engagement all affect a cosmetic company; traditional or indie. Existing databases from CrunchBase have been compiled and will be analyzed, primarily focusing on the funding received and founders of these companies. The purpose of this research proposal is to find the fundamental criteria investors use to base their preference on which beauty ventures to fund.
  • Aaron Tejeda
    • "Academic and Professional Contexts around Contemporary Digital Media"
    • Film and media programs can be categorized according to their emphases in critical studies and production. The research for this project will explore these distinctions by examining several aspects from media production on the local level to media literacy and understanding of digital media. The concepts focused upon are meant to provide a clearer understanding of the significance of contemporary cinema studies and digital media in the context of graduate level programs as well as potential professional pursuits. Furthermore, the study aims to examine certain methodologies and implement some of the techniques into practice through filmmaking.
    • Made in Heaven - Final Film
    • Mentor: Scott Baugh, English
    • Vlog of trip to USC
    • Anything Goes
  • Rick Trevino
    • Internship at Tyler Technologies - Customer Information Services Software

McNair Scholars Program