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Southern Oregon University


Anna Humphreys is earning a baccalaureate of science in Psychology at Southern Oregon University. She anticipates graduating summa cum laude in June 2016.

Anna is interested in prenatal and perinatal psychology and is particularly fascinated by exploring quantitatively the potential psychological and physiological effects of prenatal meditation on the offspring. Since 2012, Anna has worked in the childbirth field as a labor doula, infant massage educator, and prenatal meditation instructor. In addition, Anna is assistant to the president of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) and co-director for Calm Birth/Medigrace, a non-profit centered on a globally reputed childbirth meditation method. Anna’s other research interest include: the impact of prenatal stress on the offspring, changes in epigenetic structure resulting from traumatic birth, the scientific study of consciousness, and the effects of stress on telomere length.

Anna is proud to be a McNair Scholar at SOU and an active member of the local and international childbirth community. Anna is a certified doula through the Doula Organization of North America, a certified infant massage educator through the International Association of Infant Massage, and administratively involved with APPPAH. She has also served as a board member of Southern Oregon Birth Connections, is secretary of the board for Calm Birth/Medigrace, and a volunteer doula with Providence Medford Medical Center.  In addition, Anna is employed as an on-call doula at Asante Ashland Community Hospital, and has volunteered as a doula and educator with La Clinica Women’s Center in Medford, OR.  At SOU, Anna is involved with the gerontology and psychology clubs, and is currently participating as a research assistant in a study conducting a series of interviews with the elderly. The interviews will be used for quantitative analysis to find trends within the aging community.

After graduation, Anna looks forward to continuing her academic journey and refining her knowledge of Psychology and qualitative research methodologies by attending a Psychology doctoral program with the possibility of an emphasis on prenatal and perinatal psychology or early-life development.  Upon completing graduation, Anna hopes to have the opportunity to use her post-baccalaureate education in service of others by designing a textbook and course curriculum on the subject of prenatal and perinatal psychology and teaching this class at a university while ushering it in to the broad spectrum of psychology curriculums at other institutions.  She plans to continue her work with Calm Birth and APPPAH, and to engage in applied research with institutes of health.  Her ultimate research goal is a longitudinal study on the effects of prenatal meditation on the offspring. Anna hopes that her work may have a positive impact on the field of maternal-infant healthcare.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Russell-Miller, Professor of Psychology

Scholar Curriculum Vitae


McNair Scholars

 Janel Lajoie Field Research Crater Lake National Park 2014

Janel Lajoie 

Field Research at Crater Lake National Park

    Janel L. Lajoie is currently earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Ecology and Conservation. She anticipates graduating summa cum laude in December 2014.

    Janel is interested in the areas of wildlife management and human/wildlife interactions, specifically concerning implications on wildlife in relation to recreational use of our National Parks. While an undergraduate at Southern Oregon University in 2013 Janel conducted research for the university in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy for the purpose of establishing data in 93 control plots in the Ashland, Oregon watershed. Janel utilized GPS and GIS software, determined and navigated to the plot locations, collected and recorded variable and fixed plot data, and applied data analysis techniques to establish baseline information for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project Legacy Tree Effectiveness Monitoring Plan. For a combined practicum and internship in 2014 Janel wrote a competitive proposal and received a fellowship with the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. During the course of this fellowship Janel created a study design and conducted independent research on the abundance of the Black-backed Woodpecker within the National Park boundaries.

    Upon completion of her undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University Janel is committed to continuing her academic journey by attending an ecologically based doctoral program which will allow her opportunities for field work and research in harmony with nature. Janel is looking forward to conducting research with colleagues – the results of which she expects will have a positive effect on communities and the planet.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gregory Jones, Director: Business, Communications, and the Environment


Curriculum Vitae

Brochure about Lajoie's 2014 research project: Abundance of the Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) amid recent Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) Infestations within Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

2014 McNair Scholar Symposium

PowerPoint Illustrated Presentation:



McNair Scholars      


Eric Worthey

My name is Eric Worthey. I am a non-traditional college student, earning a baccalaureate of arts degree in English with an emphasis in Literary Studies. I anticipate on graduating with cum laude in December 2015.

I am interested in the intersection of written history where religion and gender meet. I am fascinated with the way religion shapes thought and belief patterns, as well as the way that people utilize literature to communicate the wide variety of religious thought inspired by individual perceptions and experiences. I am also interested in qualitative research on the effects of the canonical passages in western religion that have been used to usurp the power of certain groups of people like females, homosexuals, transgender people, and ethnic groups,, and. I have personally witnessed the miracles and atrocities of religion, which has motivated me to obtain knowledge about religion, combining it with my experiences, and teach individuals with inquiring minds to think freely for themselves. As an undergraduate at Southern Oregon University (SOU), I performed extensive research on the emergence of Christian Literature from oral tradition to written, and the process that was implemented in deciding which texts were deemed either canonical or heretical. This research created a desire in me to probe deeper into the history of Christianity through the vehicle of Philosophy, which led me to the discovery of Thomas Aquinas, a theologian during the Medieval Ages. I am fascinated with Aquinas' work because much of what he speculated still holds true today, and because contemporary philosophers refer to his writings for support in their arguments for the existence of God. Following this, I gained the opportunity to trace the emergence of the character of the devil from a few mentions in Hebrew scripture to an explosion of embellishments to the church liturgy during the Medieval Ages.

Most recently, I embarked on a research path that allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the hero's quest and the wounded fisher king motifs found in modern and historical literature. Building on the work of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, I performed a literary analysis of hero myth elements contained in two modern post- war literary texts, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Bobbie Ann Mason's In Country. I explored how through the use of myth, the authors challenge traditional representations of binary gender. Both authors emphasize the importance of characters' ability to embrace both the male and female aspects of their nature rather than searching externally for their binary. The analysis indicates that the inclination to internally fuse the gender binary provides a pathway for overcoming duality and transcending gender. Currently, for my English Capstone, I am building on this research and looking at the way Mason utilizes the theme of music to articulate the seemingly absent maternal voice in the novel In Country.

Upon completing my baccalaureate degree at SOU, I plan to continue my education at the graduate level in pursuit of a doctoral degree. I am excited to explore the ways that literature is used to convey religious ideas and beliefs. I will seek to positively contribute to the academy through the publication of my extensive research on religion and gender. I recognize the importance of education and am committed to life-long learning. I look forward to inspiring the future generation of thinkers by teaching at the university level.

Other topics I would like to explore are the bible as literature, gender and religion, Holy Grail motif, religious narrative and culture, social transformation, and the history of the English language.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alma-Rosa Alvarez, Professor of English and Writing



SOU McNair Scholars Journal 2015

Article: The Universal Heroes' Quest: Fusing the Binary


2014 McNair Summer Research Symposium

PowerPoint Illustrated Presentation: The Universal Heroes' Quest





McNair Scholars


Amanda Denbeck


     As a dedicated student working towards two degrees, the first a Bachelor of Science in Emerging Media and Digital Arts, and the second a Bachelor of Fine Arts accompanied by a double ­minor in Art History and Film, Television, and Convergent Media. I will be the first of my family to graduate with an advanced degree in Spring of 2015.

     Research interests include advertising, design history, art history, film, television in relation to gender studies, and cultural studies. I am driven to learn theories of how visual media influences society. This includes being able to bring these theories into my own work as a digital artist. I aim be a critically informed creator of digital media.

     I plan to use my studies as a digital art professor to inspire future potential students by sharing my love for digital art theory and practice. I will also be actively engaged in current research in digital art and visual culture.

     I have completed internships at Britt Festivals (2012) and Blackstone Audio (2013). I have also been involved in the production of several art projects off ­campus and on, such as the Women of a Certain Age 2013 Calendar (used to raise funds for the Southern Oregon Humane Society), and Temple Emek Shalom’s Auction materials. I lead and founded the week­long event entitled the Emerging Media Convention.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Warren Hedges, Lecturer in Convergent Media, Emerging Media and Digital Arts 

Curriculum Vitae

McNair Scholars


Angela West 

     Angela West is earning a Baccalaureate of Arts in History and minoring in the German language with an emphasis on European studies and a concentration on holocaust and genocide studies. Angela anticipates on graduating magna cum laude in June 2015.

     Angela is currently researching the wars and genocides in modern Africa, which she will be presenting at the Southern Oregon Arts and Research in May 2014. She also will be a teaching assistant for Dr. Gary Miller in the history department Spring and Fall 2014. The classes she will be assisting with are: The Nazi Party and the Third Reich and Modern Africa since Independence. She also plans to participate in a summer internship, where she will conduct qualitative research on the Holocaust during World War II. This summer Angela will be submitting this research for publication. Angela’s projects involving holocaust and genocide studies is related to her interest in raising awareness of past and present day genocides, qualitative studies to help countries find solutions to prevent further genocide, and race and ethnic relations. Her academic and research interests are: the Holocaust, World War II, modern Germany, and the genocides and use of child soldiers in Africa.

     Angela’s long term educational goal is to earn a Ph.D. in history, with a focus on Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Angela has had a life long interest in human history and the human experience. She has a prominent interest in becoming a college professor, but also hopes to contribute to her community in many other ways. Her overall goal would be to closely work with a holocaust museum. 

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Miller, Professor of History

Curriculum Vitae

2014 McNair Scholar Symposium

PowerPoint Illustrated Presentation: