Stephanie Beeman is a senior Psychology major. She is the only student member of the NMU Institutional Review Board, which works to ensure the fair and ethical treatment of human subjects in research projects.
You are a senior this year. Can you please tell us about your graduate school search and application process? Do you have any advice for other students based on what you have learned so far?
Prepare a list of schools you will definitely apply to, and some you are considering far before those applications open. Be aware of when the applications open and begin them right away. Definitely start on these early. I started on my applications early, and I was still working on them a week before they were due. I’m very glad I allotted all that time to make sure everything looked the way I wanted it to and that everything was completed correctly. Save up money for these applications. Some schools may have McNair fee waivers, some may not. The last thing you want is to not be able to submit an application for your top school because you can’t afford it. The fees add up. I considered over 40 schools, and ended up applying to six Ph.D programs and one Master’s program. For research programs, it’s all about the fit; find faculty you’re really interested in working with and contact them before applications even open.
Briefly describe your McNair research project
My research project investigates multimodal integration between touch and vision. I’m using paper, of sorts, with various texture gradients and different colors to explore how texture effects color perception and how color effects touch perception.
If you could change anything about your undergraduate experience so far, what would you change? What advice might you give to someone just starting out?
I didn’t realize until Junior year that a B grade was a bad thing, and I wish that I would have taken classes more seriously in the beginning of my college experience. A higher GPA is always better, but be sure to get involved and gain experience because grades alone don’t mean much.
Share your thoughts about the McNair Program. Has the program helped you? If so, how?
The McNair program is wonderful and has opened many doors for me. Hearing that you are a McNair Scholar means a lot to many people (those who have heard of the program), and they automatically see you in a positive light. I would not have the research experience I have without being a McNair Scholar. I have also taken advantage of travel opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have been able to afford without McNair.
How are your plans for the future shaping up?
I’m graduating on time for a 4-year track this May! I will definitely be starting graduate school next fall semester. I’m hoping to begin a Ph.D program, but if not I know for sure I will be starting a Master’s program and going further later.
Would you like to say anything about your McNair faculty mentor?
My McNair faculty mentor is Dr. Mounia Ziat, in the Psychology Department, and I could not be more fortunate to work with her. Although it’s difficult and I don’t always know what I’m doing, I consider myself very lucky to have my own ongoing original research project. I’ve gained more research experience then most undergraduate students I know, and I hope this will prepare me for graduate school.
Anything else you would like to share? Interesting fact(s) about yourself? Holiday anecdote? Funny story?
One of the best things about the McNair Scholars Program is that I met my Soul Mate Best Friend, Rozemary Howard on a McNair trip! We’re told there is an invisible umbilical cord running between us at all times. We probably would not have met if not for the McNair program. McNair sure recruits some awesome people! Be sure to get to know them, one could be your intellectual soul mate. 🙂
Stephanie and Rozemary