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Southern Oregon University

Adriana Alexander Scholar Photo DEC 2014

Adriana Alexander is anticipating graduation summa cum laude in June 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After completion of her undergraduate degrees, Adriana is interested in pursuing a doctoral program in biomedicine with a focus in developmental, regenerative, and reproductive biology. Adriana is predominately interested in medical research involving developmental genetics, gene regulation, and human disease.  Specifically, Adriana is fascinated by genetic and environmental mechanisms of germline development, reproductive and regenerative medicine, molecular morphogenesis, and embryonic development.

Adriana’s dedication to scientific research is exemplified by her work at Southern Oregon University’s Biotechnology Center, University of Oregon, National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory (NFWFL), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At SOU, Adriana’s research project titled “Geographic variation in chloroplast DNA in the California red fir-noble fir species complex” was presented as a poster at the Southern Oregon Arts and Research Conference in May 2014 under the direction of Dr. Oline. Adriana also participated in an internship in the Bowerman Lab at the University of Oregon sponsored by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. Here, Adriana screened for temperature-sensitive, embryonic-lethal mutations affecting the nematode, C. elegans. Adriana presented a poster of her work at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in San Antonio, Texas and won an award in the Cell Biology discipline. During the summer of 2015, Adriana partook in a 10-week internship in the Dean Lab at the NIH sponsored by the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program. Adriana’s research project involved investigating the role of zinc in regulating ovastacin, a cortical granule protease, in mouse oocytes. Adriana presented a poster of her work at the NIH Poster Day in Bethesda, MD. Currently, Adriana’s work at the NFWFL entails estimating gene flow among populations over varying distances to characterize population structure and to test the potential of Y chromosome genotyping to resolve the geographic origin of black bears at regional and population levels.

Furthermore, Adriana is a first generation, low-income minority student who understands the importance of serving the community. Adriana is proud to be a Diversity Scholar and as part of that program to have completed 120 hours of community service volunteering at Asante Ashland Community Hospital and coaching a high school water polo team. Adriana’s undergraduate education has been supported by multiple scholarships, including the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program Award, Sherm & Wanda Olsrud Endowed Scholarship, Ralph and Mary Herbold Scholarship, Robert R. Robinson Memorial Biology Scholarship, Soroptimist International of Ashland Grant-in-Aid/Scholarship, AAUW, Medford Branch Scholarship, Great Lakes Scholarship for STEM Majors (2012-2013, 2014-2015), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) University Scholarship, First Generation Scholarship from CSUN Alumni Association, Honors at Entrance Scholarship from CSUN, and Emblem Club at the Elk’s Lodge Academic Excellence Achievement Award. Adriana is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Oregon Academy of Science, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Adriana’s passion for serving others, in addition to conducting research, fuels her motivation for earning a doctoral degree. Upon completion of a doctoral program, Adriana hopes to apply her post-baccalaureate education in service of others as a research scientist in developmental and reproductive biology.

Mentor: Dr. David Oline, Associate Professor of Biology


Scholar Curriculum Vitae





Cristian Ramirez is a first-generation, low-income, Latino student whose priority is attaining a higher education. His parents never had this opportunity growing up in Mexico, and since moving to the United States at the age of ten, Cristian has been working hard to take advantage of receiving a quality education in America. Cristian anticipates graduating summa cum laude in June 2017 with a Baccalaureate of Science in computer science, a minor in business administration, and a certificate in business management information systems.

Cristian understands the importance of serving the community, in particular the Latino community. He takes great pleasure participating in programs such as Academia Latina, Cesar Chavez Conference, and Pirates to Raiders. These pre-college/youth programs at Southern Oregon University encourage Latino middle and high school students to pursue higher education, as well as assist and mentor them through the process of applying to college. Cristian’s undergraduate education has been supported by the Southern Oregon University Foundation Scholarship, the Diversity Scholarship, the Ben Evans Trust Scholarship, the William and Florence Schneider Scholarship,and the Lynnette A. Kelly Scholarship. He is also the recipient of the Southern Oregon University Laurels Scholarship.

Following completion of his undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University, Cristian will apply for fall 2017 entry to graduate programs in computer science with a focus in information assurance. He is eager to advance his understanding in computer security through research and assist in improving the security of information. He is motivated to succeed academically and professionally to fulfill his and his parents dream of him attaining higher education.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lynn L. Ackler Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Scholar Curriculum Vitae



BurnsHeadshot1My name is Thomas Burns. I am pursuing a baccalaureate of science degree in Mathematics, with minors in Computer Science and Statistics. I anticipate graduating with honors in Mathematics in June of 2016.

I am interested in Computational Mathematics, especially Computational Statistics and the propagation of uncertainty. I am especially interested in creating a mathematical software package that allows users to better work with, and analyze, data.

I am the lead math tutor in the Math and Science Tutoring Center in the Learning Commons of the Hannon library at SOU.

After completing my undergraduate studies and graduating from SOU, I am looking forward to continuing my education and furthering my understanding of computational mathematics and statistics by attending a doctoral program which will provide me with opportunities to focus on the use of computer programming and a broad understanding of uncertainty to further develop my own abilities, and the abilities of others, using all of the computational methods available to modern applied mathematicians.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kemble Yates, Professor of Mathematics and Chair of SOU Math Department.


Scholar Curriculum Vitae


John Davis Pogue III is earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with focus in education systems and gender in American society. He is also earning a minor in Philosophy with a particular interest in social and individual influences of science and theory evaluation. John will graduate cum laude in June 2016.

Upon completing his undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University John will continue his education by enrolling in a Sociology doctoral program. John is looking forward to attending a graduate program that has a specific focus on systems of education in the United States. There he hopes to apply qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to expand knowledge on the evolving changes of education systems in the U.S. Once John completes his doctoral program he hopes to use his knowledge by teaching and engaging in research opportunities that aid in constructing social policy for education programs.John’s primary research interest within Sociology is related to GED trends and educational policy in the United States. Specifically, he is exploring how schools and society interact with students and contribute to systems of inequality or achievement among individuals within a variety of socioeconomic settings. John is also interested in gender representations within American media, specifically focusing on the evolving changes in masculine narratives and their portraying connections to alcohol consumption.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Echo E. Fields, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Program Chair of Sociology, and Coordinator of Human Services

Scholar Curriculum Vitae








Connolly Headshot 1Shannon Connolly is pursuing a Baccalaureate of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in Biomedical Science and a minor in Psychology.  Shannon is honored to be a recipient of a Ford Family Foundation scholarship and anticipates graduating cum laude in June 2017.

Shannon has a passion for learning the healing processes of the human body and the physical environments that contribute to optimum health.  The diversity of body systems has led her to study a wide variety of topics including:  biochemistry, microbiology, endocrinology, immunology, and neuroscience.  In addition to body function, she has interest in the role of the human brain as it pertains to the healing process, and functional and botanical medicine. 

After completing her undergraduate studies, Shannon plans to focus on two paths for her graduate research; Osteopathic Medicine and Science Communication.  With the knowledge gained from her undergraduate and graduate studies, Shannon intends to spend her career educating the public on how the body regenerates and about lifestyle choices that create the best environment for optimum health.

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Kathleen Page, Professor of Biology

Scholar Curriculum Vitae