Southeast 2021-22 McNair Scholars Complete Summer Research Institute


Eleven Southeast Missouri State University students in the TRIO/McNair Scholars Program recently completed a two-week Summer Research Institute as part of the 2021-22 McNair cohort.

During the Summer Research Institute, students connected with one another and learned exciting new topics, including the importance of academics, mental wellness, financing their education and information about navigating the graduate school process.

The institute was led by Jamila Loving, TRIO/McNair academic coordinator, and program graduate assistant Wendell Stapleton. Each session was geared towards integrating the cohort into the University culture and were provided by Southeast faculty and staff.

“This group of Scholars has already shown a considerable amount of ambition, professionalism, and intelligence both in and outside of the classroom,” said Valdis Zalite, director of TRIO Programs. “They will continue to rise to the top of any challenge presented to them in their career paths. With every step of the research process, these students are becoming more excited to have their own scholarly work completed and published. We can’t wait to see the amazing things they will do!”

As part of the McNair program, each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to complete rigorous but rewarding research.

Southeast undergraduate students in the 2021-22 McNair cohort who participated in the summer institute include:

  • Delaney Adams, pre-physical therapy major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Monica Kearney, Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Recreation
  • Amari Bell, multimedia journalism major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Tamera Zellers Buck, Department of Mass Media
  • Lainey Edwards, English, creative writing major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Sandra Cox, Department of English
  • Leah King, family studies major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Sarah Kuborn, Department of Child and Family Studies
  • Eliana Martinez, business administration major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Christine Ladwig, Department of Marketing
  • Camille Shoals, political science and communication studies major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Jeremy Walling, Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religion
  • Indya Smith, psychology major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Shawn Guiling, Department of Psychology and Counseling
  • Neosha Smith, political science
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Laura Hatcher, Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religion
  • Victoria Smith, business administration major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Quantella Noto, Department of Management
  • Mya Weakly, psychology major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Sarah Kuborn, Department of Child and Family Studies
  • Jayanti Klingensmith, social work major
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Dana Branson, Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology

The TRIO/McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded grant program which is designed to give underrepresented, low income, and first-generation college students the research experience and tools needed to gain entry into graduate school. The program provides academic support, enhancement workshops, faculty mentoring, summer research experiences and preparation for graduate school to eligible juniors and seniors.

For more information about Southeast’s TRIO/McNair Scholars Program, visit