Early next month, Cal State Fullerton senior Blanca Ramirez will take her first trip to the East Coast to conduct research at Princeton University.
Ramirez is a McNair Scholar, part of a federally funded program established to provide low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students with opportunities to prepare for and succeed in earning advanced college degrees.
She is one of six McNair Scholars who will experience what could be their future by living and conducting research this summer at a doctoral-granting institution.
“I applied last fall to various research facilities for a summer research opportunity, including Princeton’s Undergraduate Summer Research Experience,” Ramirez explained. She will be one of only 10 students from across the nation selected to take part in the eight-week residency program at the New Jersey campus.
While there, the sociology major will be studying teen relationships. “My research at Cal State Fullerton has been on the role of the immigration experience on culture of honor beliefs and its relation to the treatment of women. My research interests are on violence against women of color and the justifications of violence in society.
“My parents are excited,” added the Anaheim resident. “I hadn’t told them when I was applying … but they know it’s a step in the right direction.”
Ramirez, whose faculty mentor is assistant sociology professor Devon Thacker Thomas, hopes to one day earn her doctorate. “So that’s why it was really important to get into a summer research program as preparation.
“I’m excited and nervous,” she admitted. “But I think it will be a great experience.”
Other McNair Scholars participating in summer research programs, cities of residence and majors, are:
Christina Acosta of Fullerton, psychology, UC Irvine
Alyssa Bormann of Bellflower, biochemistry, Stanford University
Robert Cortes of Fullerton, philosophy, UC San Diego
Jessica Sanchez of Costa Mesa, psychology, UC San Diego
Shaina Sta Cruz of Fullerton, communicative disorders, UC San Diego
The Ronald E. McNair Scholars program was established by the U.S. Department of Education in 1986 and named after the late astronaut, who was the second African American to fly in space. The program offers a variety of activities and services, including one-on-one advising, research under a faculty mentor, participation in graduate school tours and funding for conference attendance and presentations.
Cal State Fullerton instituted the program in 1999. This month, 10 Scholars graduated from the University and have been accepted into graduate programs across the country, including Baylor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Texas A&M and University of Pennsylvania.