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Southern Oregon University

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

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


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 will be 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


Gonzales Web PhotoI am Alexa Gonzalez and I am earning a Baccalaureate of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Pre-Physical Therapy Emphasis. I anticipate graduating cum laude in June of 2016.

I am interested in sports medicine and am fascinated by how the body moves. I intend on researching how rehabilitation programs can prevent injuries and/or surgery for elite athletes. Being an athlete myself, I know there is always a risk when playing sports and I want to discover new and innovative ways to strengthen and condition muscles to prevent serious injuries, such as tearing an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) of a knee. I conducted research during my freshman year at SOU and presented findings at the Southern Oregon Arts and Research Conference. My research consisted of analyzing how diet can influence epigenetics by studying prenatal and postnatal nutrition and daily food intake of agouti mice.

I am proud to be a Diversity Scholar at SOU and as a part of the program, have completed over 100 hours of community service. As a freshman, I volunteered at the SOU recycling center sorting through trash from all around campus to contribute to our environmental friendly university. I am involved with the Multicultural Resource Center and have been a key organizer for the Social Justice Conference at SOU and the Martin Luther King Day celebration in the Ashland Armory for the past three years. I have also been a high school mentor to students at Crater High School in Central Point. This mentor program is called Mosaic and it is where SOU students are matched up with their mentees and act like a big brother/sister figure. During Christmas break of my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to be one of Santa’s elves who took pictures and passed out gifts to children with physical and mental disabilities of military families. It was a fulfilling experience and made me appreciate how fortunate I am.

My undergraduate education has been supported by the Diversity, Churchill, Soroptimist, and softball scholarships that I have received from SOU and the Soroptomist Foundation in Ashland. I am 3rd year softball player for the SOU softball team. I am a member of the Black and Red Crew, which is a group of student athletes who represent each sports team and collaborate to raise school spirit, promote involvement within our campus, and support the community through volunteer services. Being a student athlete has also allowed me to be a role model for the youth of Ashland through softball camps and clinics, as well as practicing with the softball team of Ashland High School.

After completing my undergraduate studies at SOU, I am very excited to continue my academic journey and expand my knowledge of kinesiology, physical therapy, and bioenergetics by attending a doctoral program. Upon completion of a doctoral program, I will use my post-baccalaureate education in service to injured athletes while also continuing to engage in applied research and to volunteer with non-profit organizations around the world. 

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Slawta, Associate Professor of Health, Physical Education, and Leadership

Scholar Curriculum Vitae



David Sparks is working on his baccalaureate of art degree in History with an emphasis in 19th and 20th century United States history and a concentration on images of urban and rural environments.

He anticipates graduating cum laude May 2017. His academic interests are the history of science and technology and the micro-history of rural towns and the expansion of cities as viewed through images and primary sources. What individuals choose to capture tells what is important to them and the society at the time. This also shows the growth or decline of the physical environment surrounding the subjects of the image. Paired with primary sources such as diaries, financial records, and church records we can see the total picture of change that spans lower working classes to the upper classes, which will show what was important to these individuals and on a grand scale will show what was important to our society. David also has interest in the material record left behind by these individuals in the rural environment.

After completing his undergraduate at SOU he wishes to continue on to graduate school where he can focus more on researching the United States history. He is excited to explore, through research, the foundations of our present generations and presenting to the public the findings of this research by using modern technology to reach those that are underrepresented in society. Upon the completion of post-graduate degree he hopes to refine the methods of research and expanding the resources used for historical research and helping the public appreciate the history of our country. 

 McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean F. McEnroe, Associate Professor of History

Scholar Curriculum Vitae