McNair Fellows

Wesleyan McNair Fellows are Juniors and Seniors who conduct funded research with a faculty mentor, and participate in program activities as a cohort. The central component of the Fellows' experience is the 9-week Summer Research Program in residence on the Wesleyan campus combining the mentored research experience, workshops on professional and academic skills, graduate school visits and other cohort building activities. 

McNair Fellow activities include:

  • Weekly meetings with McNair staff and/or McNair faculty mentor covering:
    • Writing a research proposal and abstract, and outlining a thesis or research paper
    • Research project updates
    • Fitting research time into a busy semester
    • Presenting research at lab meetings and conferences
    • Writing a personal statement
    • Graduate school admissions and funding
    • Preparation for grad school interviews
    • Academic and personal advising.
  • Fellow peer review -- giving and receiving useful feedback
  • Graduate school admissions workshops/panels and visits
  • Fall Wesleyan Faculty Research Talks
  • Spring Senior Research Talks
  • Pathways to Inclusive Education (PIE) events/activities
  • Various co-sponsored events with the Gordon Career Center, NSM Coalition, Office for Equity & Inclusion, and other departments/organizations that pertain to preparation for, entering, and progressing successfully through doctoral programs. 

McNair Fellows are eligible to receive a $2,800 stipend if, they:

  • have Junior standing at the university, which means the student has satisfactory completed at least 14 credits and been accepted into a department/program major
  • secured a research position with a faculty member and engaged in at least 8 hours of research per week during the academic year and 35 hours of research per week during the 9-week Summer Research Program
  • completed a Research Proposal with the assistance of their McNair faculty mentor (Fellow & faculty mentor signature required)
  • completed bi-weekly Activity Logs recording research activities and McNair services engaged in (Fellow & faculty mentor signature required)
  • attended all semester or summer workshops/meetings
  • submitted an end of semester or summer program research project that is a synthesis of the research conducted during the semester or summer
  •  additionally, Seniors are required to enroll and participate in the Senior Professional Development & Graduate School Preparation Seminar in the fall and give a McNair Senior Research Talk in the spring.

Current Fellows

Name  Class Year Mentor Department Recent or Current Projects

Melanie Cham


Mentor: Dana Royer

Earth & Environmental Science Ecological Strategy of Pacific Northwest Forests During the Miocene Climatic Optimum

Natalie Cruz-Vespa

2024 Mentor: Prof. Laverne Melon Psychology

Fa'alataitaua Fitisemanu


Mentor: Prof.Teresita Padilla-Benavides

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Biochemical and Structural Insights into CRIP2, a novel Cu- binding protein

Jama Kittling


Mentor: Prof. Meredith Hughes


Patel Jeet


Mentor: Prof. Suzanne OConnell

Earth & Environmental Science

Observing Pleistocene Paleoclimate through Ice Rafted Detritus 

Angela Rojas-Merchan


Mentor: Prof. Benjamin Elling


Synthesis of Benzoldioxids for Ring-Opening Metathesis
Polymerization of Water-Soluble, Degradable Polymers

Kristina Tran


Mentor: Nicole Watkins


Perceived Influence of Social Networks’ Opinions and Beliefs on Emerging Adults’ Romantic

Ishraq Wasif


Mentor: Prof. Colin Smith

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Characterizing 3,5
difluoro 4 hydroxybenzylidene imidazolinone (DFHBI) Electron Distribution and its Effect on Fluorescence