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Southern Oregon University

Kahawai Photo 4Nicole Kahawai is pursuing a Baccalaureate of Science degree in Elementary Education at Southern Oregon University. She is also working towards minors in both Psychology and Interpersonal Communications, and a certificate in Conflict Resolution. She anticipates graduating cum laude in June 2017.

Nicole is interested in the development and evaluation of curriculum. Coming from the state of Hawai’i she is interested in seeing how curriculums affect areas of underrepresented groups and less resourced areas. Nicole’s research interests include: Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Practice, and Educational Foundations.

Nicole is a proud McNair scholar as well as a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary Siskiyou Chapter. She has been on both the President’s honors list and Provost’s honors list for five terms and plans on graduating with honors. Nicole is also the President of the Residence Hall Association for Southern Oregon University.

After completing an undergraduate degree at Southern Oregon University, Nicole is interested in pursuing a doctoral education in curriculum development and evaluation. She has a strong passion for research and education, especially in research that can be used to improve conditions for minorities. Upon completion of a doctoral program Nicole would like to be a university professor so that she can help bring awareness and knowledge to underrepresented groups.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Greene, Professor of Education, Education Department

Scholar Curriculum Vitae

Myers    Jeffrey Myers is currently a senior at Southern Oregon University (SOU), earning a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a concentration in Choral Conducting. He anticipates graduating magna cum laude in June 2017.

    Jeffrey is interested in vocal music and communal singing as a bridge of communication between peoples of varying backgrounds, spiritual practices, and cultural ideologies. This is particularly relevant in today’s climate of growing global awareness and understanding of current issues facing our society and the global community as a whole. Jeffrey further seeks to explore those elements of choral and group singing that serve in a religious or spiritual capacity and to study the unifying principles contained in those diverse practices. Jeffrey will spend the summer of 2016 researching the significance of spiritual and devotional singing among participants in 3 different types of religious observance. Jeffrey plans to compare and contrast these experiences through a general list of questions regarding feelings and personal interpretations of these events and to quantify that research in an academic paper to be published in the fall of 2016. Jeffrey is also interested in the history of Western music and the role that choral music continues to play in contemporary compositions. As part of this, Jeffrey plans to study World music and its growing representation within the realm of the choral repertoire.

    Jeffrey is proud to be a McNair scholar at SOU and is also involved in many activities on and off campus. He is a member of both the broader based University Concert choir and the more specialized Chamber choir, in which he serves as bass section leader. He was also recently appointed as choral master at Ascension Lutheran Church, a distinction in that it is rare to be appointed a professional position of this nature while still earning an undergraduate degree. Jeffrey has also interned as a grant writer for the Jackson County Library Foundation, and serves as Assistant Programming Director at Southern Oregon’s Jefferson Public Radio.

Mentor: Dr. Paul T. French, Professor and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Southern Oregon University and Creative Director and Conductor for Southern Oregon Repertory Singers

TaylorEmily Paige Taylor is currently working towards a Baccalaureate of Arts in History with a minor in Anthropology.  She anticipates graduating magna cum laude from SOU in June of 2018.  Emily is working towards a specialization in Public History and aspires to a career in museum curation and research.  Within the field of Public History Emily has a broad range of research interests.  Her topics of research interest include the Oral History of rural American towns, Comparative History, Early Modern History, the roles of women in society, and the cultural exchange brought on by immigration.

Emily is a first-generation college student and was raised in rural areas in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  Her research interests have largely been shaped by her experiences volunteering with various historical institutions. Emily first developed an interest in Oral History while volunteering with the local historical society in her hometown and in Public History while working as a volunteer docent at the Baldwin Hotel Museum in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Most recently she has been expanding her knowledge of Public History by engaging in volunteer work with the Southern Oregon Historical Society and the SOU Anthropology Lab.

She will also be doing an internship at Brown University in the summer of 2016, where she will be participating in research on the Nightengale-Brown House and the development of a self-guided tour curriculum for the historic mansion.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean McEnroe

Scholar Curriculum Vitae

IMG 7971    Nikole Gomez is currently working on completing her Baccalaureate of Science degree in Biochemistry with a pre-pharmacy focus at Southern Oregon University. Nikole anticipates graduating cum laude in June 2018. She is honored to be McNair scholar at Southern Oregon University, and has been on the Provost’s List for two terms.

    Nikole is interested in a variety of academic topics including pharmaceutics and genetics, and after completing her undergraduate studies she hopes to have the opportunity to continue her education at graduate school to study pharmaceutical sciences focusing on synthesizing new forms of medications for those who suffer with chronic pain.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hala Schepmann, Professor of Chemistry

Scholar Curriculum Vitae


Valtierra SanchezAnnie has been determined to succeed at obtaining a higher education, and will be the first one in her family to accomplish that. She will be graduating magna cum laude in December 2016 from Southern Oregon University with a Baccalaureate of Science in Sociology and Anthropology and a Regional Studies Applied Research certificate.

Annie’s research interests are in multicultural education and curriculum development with the goal of generating educational equity, especially for disadvantaged populations. Her undergraduate research has focused on different social aspects that effect education. Her capstone research is based on the representation of Mexican American history within U.S. history at high school level, which will be presented at the Southern Oregon’s Arts & Research conference (SOAR) in May 2016. For almost a year, Annie collaborated with her department’s chair, Dr. Shibley, and a team of students to create an alumni profile webpage for current and future SOAN students based on alumni’s experience at SOU, the SOAN program, and present careers. She was there from the inception of the project’s design, and assisted in formulating and determining interview questions, and conducted four recorded interviews. She also transcribed and helped with profile creation. Annie further developed her ethnographic research skills by doing observations and interviews within SOU’s Latino Student Union. She explored how Latino college students navigate their ethnic identity on campus and the importance of staying connected to their roots while pursuing a degree in higher education.

Annie is a proud member and as the treasurer she is a key organizer for the largest cohort in the history SOU’s Latino Student Union. She enjoys the vibrant energy and the level of engagement the members bring. Annie currently is the mentor coordinator for SOU’s minority outreach program “Pirates to Raiders.” The program provides college mentors for Latino middle school kids aiming to build a path into higher education. Annie is in charge of mentor recruitment and currently oversees 10 mentors. She, herself, serves as a mentor for 50 kids every week. Annie has also been collaborating with a local Spanish magazine, writing articles that pertain to the importance of education in the Latino community. Annie also volunteers in a TAG program at an elementary school, and has volunteered as a Spanish story reader for preschool kids. She’s involved in her church community as a member in different committees. Her latest contribution was to develop a presentation for a group of 20 couples, and separately for a group of 10+ women, about the implications of being a Latina immigrant in the U.S. Annie is member of the International Sociology Honor Society. She’s also a student member of the Association of American University Women (AAUW) and as such volunteers for different events. She was part of the committee for two events on sexual assault on campus, one presented at SOU, the other for the community in Medford. She’s also part of the content committee for the 2016 Women’s Leadership Conference, an annual event that brings more than 300 women leaders together. Annie’s undergraduate education at SOU has been supported by the AAUW scholarship; SOU’s Count Me In scholarship after being nominated by her professors; the Diversity Scholarship, which recognizes the extensive hours of on-campus and community volunteering she does. And both the Oregon and SOU’s opportunity grants.

Annie looks forward to graduating from SOU and following her passion and motivation to contribute to society by pursuing a doctoral degree and engaging in applied research and education. As a sociologist Annie wants to research education from the social, cultural, historical and policy based perspectives. She believes that if education is considered to be the equalizer for underrepresented populations then we ought to start with equitable educational practices. She also wants to research other social issues that affect underrepresented populations, especially Latinos.

McNair Mentor: Dr. Vincent Smith, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Scholar Curriculum Vitae