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
  • GRE Preparation
  • 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 Research Lab & Mentor Department Recent or Current Projects

Brionna Colson-Fearon


Versey Lab

Mentor: Prof. H. Shellae Versey 



The Black Farmer Project: Promotion of Food Access and Healthy Living by Urban Farmers in Baltimore

Benjamin Filio


Aaron Lab

Mentor: Prof. Gloster Aaron 

Neuroscience & Behavior The role of DARPP-32+ NNs in zebra finch song production 

Laurel Goulbourne


OConnell Lab

Mentor: Prof. Suzanne OConnell

Earth & Environmental Science Utilization of Quartz Micro-Textures to Determine Antartic Ice-Sheet Dynamics

Genesis Garcia


Dubar Lab

Mentor: Pro. Royette Dubar

Psychology Gratitude and Nostalgia Among Minority College Students on Forming New Relationships During the COVID-19 Panemic

Jordan Green


Poulos Lab

Mentor: Prof. Helen Poulos

Earth & Environmental Science Differences in Evapotranspiration Across the Fire Severity Gradient can be Explained by Post-Fire Specific Composition

Tashfia Jilu


Hatch Lab

Mentor: Anthony Hatch

Science in Society Program Unseen and Unheard: Exploring the U.S. Healthcare System from the Lens of Bangladeshi Immigrants

Qura-Tul-Ain Khan


Mukerji Lab

Mentor: Prof. Ishita Mukerji

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Elucidating the Structure of the HU-Junction Complex

Yaiza Kinney


OConnell Lab

Mentor: Prof. Suzanne OConnell

Earth & Environmental Science Below Iceberg Alley: Tracking Antarctic Ice Loss from a Previous Global Warming

Helen Lei


Chernoff Lab

Mentor: Prof. Barry Chernoff

Earth & Environmental Science Whole Genome Sequencing of Rhinichthys cataractae Using MinION Technology

Brianna Mebane 


Delta Lab/Wesleyan Media Project

Mentor: Prof. Erika Franklin Fowler 

Computer Science  BLM in the Battleground: An Analysis of Racial Justice-Related Election Ads in Georgia

Justin Nguyen


Smith Lab

Mentor: Prof. Colin Smith

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Optimization of mini-Fluorescence Activating Protein (mFAP) Brightness with GFP-mimetic chromophore DFHBI

Yalissa Rodriquez


Melon Lab

Mentor: Prof. Laverne Melon

Neuroscience & Behavior and Biology

Neurosteriodgenesis and Individual Difference in Vulnerability to Developing Escalated Alcohol Intake Following Chronic Social Defeat

Mohammed Ullah


Taylor Lab 

Mentors: Prof. Erika Taylor & Prof. Michael Calter


Synthesis of A Lignin Depolymerization Probe

Hang Yang


Olson Lab

Mentor: Prof. Rich Olson

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Exploring the Functional Role of Domain Constructs of Bacterial Biofilm Extracellular Matrix Protein RbmC

Ange Zuniga-Aleman



Perks Lab

Mentor: Prof. Krista Perks


Neuroscience & Behavior

The Evolution of the Mormyrid Weakly Electric Fish Brain and its Impact on Species Diversification