Welcome to Our New McNair Scholars!

On Saturday, January 20, 2018 the McNair Scholars Program held its annual all-day Saturday workshop to orient the new cohort of Scholars into the program.  After introductions, the group spent the morning reviewing the McNair Handbook, and talking about program benefits and responsibilities, communication and professionalism.  After a Border Grill lunch, the students took the GRE to get a baseline score.

We are delighted to welcome these seventeen new scholars into the program.

William Soper

Hi, I’m William Soper and I’m from Escanaba, MI.  I am a junior at NMU with a double major in Mathematics and Economics.  I really care about the environment and would like to work toward a PhD in Environmental Economics and become a college professor.  When I’m not doing school work, I am usually spending time with my wife and our two year old daughter.  We love to hang out outside (even in the winter), play games, and go bowling.  This is a wedding picture of my daughter and me.


Danielle Ashley

My name is Danielle Ashley and I am a junior studying Biology with a concentration in Zoology.  I am from Manistee, MI.  I would like to get a PhD in Zoology and spend my time between the laboratory and field when I finish graduate school.  I am interested in animal behavior, invasive species, and animal conservation.  I am an avid freshwater aquarist and I work on the aquatics crew to help maintain the campus fish tanks.  I can also be found working in NMU’s Writing Center as a writing tutor.  I am the Vice President of NMU’s animal welfare group Cause4Paws.  I like fishing, hiking and canoeing.  I also like to travel.  I am interested in invertebrates, but also in terrestrial animals.  I would like to do some research concerning wolf, turtle, or fish conservation in Northern Michigan.


Anna Wacker

I am a junior studying Biology with a dual focus in Pre-Med and Physiology.  I am also pursuing a Deaf Studies certificate.  I was born a micro-preemie at one pound 13 ounces and because of this, my dream is to go to medical school to become a doctor of Maternal/Fetal medicine so I can work with premature infants.  I plan on working in under served and rural areas because our local hospital and doctors are not equipped to handle these types of cases and have to send people hours away from home to get the care they need.


Michelle Kaiser

I am a junior Philosophy major with a minor in Religious Studies, originally from Saint Joseph, MI.  I would like to attend graduate school to attain a PhD in Philosophy and concentrate on the role that religion holds in everyday life.  In general, I am in pursuit of a subjective truth to questions such as why are we (as human beings) here?  How did we get here?  Who or what brought about our existence? Where did life begin?  Is there a meaning to life, and if so, what is it?  What intrigues me most is how human beings go about choosing who or what is responsible for that which cannot be explained by reason; that which is spiritual.  That is also to say that I am intrigued by what/who human beings place their faith in.  As of late, my focus of inquiry has been of concepts beyond binary thinking, concepts involving self-realization and identification and/or human consciousness, and concepts regarding the power of an individual’s free choice of the will.  After graduation, I would like to teach with an emphasis on strength and individuality – moreover, strength in individuality.  I would be pleased to instruct students on the nature of logic, existentialism, ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, religion, and metaphysics.  Ultimately, any profound change in the world begins at the individual level; if we, as a species, wish to see a change, then we must begin internally and work our way outward.  Paradoxical thinking and that which is associated, is of utmost interest to me.


Isabelle Tavares

Isabelle Tavares is a sophomore studying Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in Journalism.  Growing up with a nature preserve in her backyard in Kalamazoo, Michigan, nature has always been important to her.  Through environmental communication, she hopes to bring attention to environmental justice and climate change to address the alarming issues facing the earth in the past, present and future.  Isabelle is a member of the NMU Swim and Dive team, vice president of the Food Recovery Network, involved with EcoReps, and writes for the North Wind.  She lives for the feeling of dirt under her fingernails and the ringing of banjos in her ears at a Michigan summer folk music festival.  She enjoys climbing with friends in the warmer months, photography, and wants to get into beekeeping.  Future plans include learning how to lead a zero-waste lifestyle in a like-minded community.  She is eager to begin this new journey and looks forward to building relationships with the McNair community!


Breanna Demaline

Born in a rural, small town in Ohio, I ran towards the opportunity to follow my dreams at a beautiful campus in Marquette, Michigan.  Since the age of six, I have immersed myself in the world of animal health.  From establishing millipede colonies when I was younger to now working in a veterinary clinic, I have continued to pursue my goal of becoming a licensed veterinarian, focusing on small and exotic animals.  It is my hope that my passion for animal well-being will allow me to benefit the world of veterinary medicine.  As a student with sophomore standing, I will begin applying to accredited veterinary medicine programs next May with the goal of matriculating into Michigan State University.  Until then, I will continue gaining experience and creating lasting memories!  Through the McNair Scholars Program, I hope to combine my passion for animal behavior and research.  Currently, I work at a veterinary clinic that is working to become “fear-free” certified.  We focus on creating positive and rewarding veterinary experiences for our patients.  We readily spend hours with our patients to ensure they are comfortable and to lessen the fear and anxiety most pets have when visiting the veterinarian.  Fear-Free is a program that I am excited to be a part of and have become incredibly passionate about.  I look forward to continuing my experience utilizing this approach in my career!


Alexa Hansen

Alexa Hansen is a junior a Northern Michigan University studying Sociology.  Alexa is interested in doing research on the effects social media has on college students’ mental health.  After getting her PhD, Alexa hopes to move to Washington, adopt a Great Pyrenees and spread her knowledge as a university professor.


Ryan Zawodny

I come from the small country town of Marlette, Michigan (not to be confused with Marquette). I was raised in a rural setting and was introduced to the natural setting, which was fuel for my curiosity and appreciation of wildlife and plants. After I complete my PhD, I hope to become a professor.

As a Biology major attending NMU, there is no place I would rather be for the experiences I have already earned and those that are to come. The natural bounty around Marquette and the conservation focus brought forward from the Biology department is amazing to me. There is no place I would rather be than in the forest with the cliff faces and rivers throughout the U.P.

My goal for my undergraduate career is to become acquainted with department faculty and become involved in research around this region and the world, particularly in Biology. I am interested in ecological aspects of the world and working with animals big and small. My major interest currently is focused on all things snakes and other reptiles. My long-term goal is to receive a PhD in field research and begin uncovering facts on little known species of snakes, venomous and non-venomous and the symbiotic organisms they interact with. I hope to raise awareness for conservation and to provide interesting information to the public regarding animals not usually focused on.


Bailey West

My name is Bailey West and I am a History and Sociology major.  My main interest is historical medical sociology.  One topic I am very interested in pursuing research in is the role nurses have played in medicine over time and how the role has changed.  I come from a family of nurse’s aides and have seen how intimate the role can be.  I love history, sociology and medicine and have found a way to combine them that interests me most!


Rachel Bazen

Hi, my name is Rachel Bazen.  I am a junior here at NMU and am majoring in Neuroscience (Behavior and Cognitive) with a minor in French.  I have switched my major a few times, but French has always remained one of my passions.  A dream of mine is to go to France and take cooking classes.  Their food is incredible.  I hope to graduate and move on to graduate program in Clinical Psychology or something similar. I would love to have a job that includes research to help better the lives of those who have mental disorders.  I have an interesting mix of interests, but I am excited to see where that takes me in life after college!


Ryan Meister

My name is Ryan Anthony Meister.  I’m a human being who likes hiking, working out, skiing, hammocking, and exploring nature, and who will never shy away from eating a whole bag of chips and watching Netflix.  I do that last one at the end of the day, sometimes, after I’ve accomplished my workout, homework and study for the day.  I swear sometimes I feel like I’m my own parent by saying to myself “You can’t watch T.V. until your homework’s done!”  Some of my future goals are:  earning a 4.0 GPA each semester, balance my schedule every day, and to study efficiently for the GRE.  I also want to get into a prestigious school and further my knowledge in Behavioral Economics, game and microeconomic theory.


Jordan Wallace

I have loved every class in the Clinical Laboratory Science department that I have taken.  Furthermore, I have discovered a passion for anatomy and physiology.  I am constantly fascinated by the relationships of form and function within our body.  What we can discover about an individual from 1mL of their blood, whether it be looking at malaria on a smear, or running a culture and identifying pathogens, continues to amaze me.  Disease pathways also interest me greatly.  These containers we inhabit are all so different, thank goodness; however, learning the sciences that establish our similarities, and furthermore learning what is then abnormal and pathogenic, is a beautiful point to look at life, disease, and health.  I can’t thank my professors in the CLS department enough for equipping me with these tools and sharing the beauty of the world from the microscopic point of view.  I hope to one day become a Pathologist’s Assistant or pursue a career in clinical research.  Outside of my studies I love taking in all that is the beautiful Upper Peninsula; from swimming at Echo Lake and Little Presque constantly throughout the spring, summer and fall until it’s so cold that I can’t feel my toes, to cross-country skiing until I’m sweating in single-digit temperatures.  These are what refresh my mind and body and allow me to keep studying as best I can.


Kim Santiago

My name is Kim Santiago. I am a Pre-med student majoring in Biology with a concentration in Physiology. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States with my family when I was just four years old. Ever since then, my home has been Gwinn, Michigan. At NMU, I am a member of SLFP where the different ideas of leadership are studied and executed in different fashions. Also, I am a member of the Best Buddies program where we are paired up with disabled individuals and do fun activities from holiday parties or just simply going somewhere to have a nice dinner. Outside of NMU, I am currently a volunteer and am employed as a Transporter at UP Health System Marquette. As of right now, I have logged well over 400 hours with these two positions there.

When I graduate NMU, I plan to attend a Medical School downstate or somewhere nearby. University of Michigan or Michigan State are my top two choices. What started my obsession with becoming a doctor was when a family member had a major surgery. Seeing how a doctor can save lives firsthand was so phenomenal to me that it made up what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I am currently unsure about what kind of doctor I want to be, but after being in a hospital setting, I am beginning to lean more towards a type of doctor that gets to talk to patients more and see them progress throughout their illness.

I plan on retiring as early as I can because I want to come back to the Philippines and set up a non-profit hospital. After visiting and actually getting ill myself there, I went to a local clinic and noticed how many people were unable to get treatment due to financial reasons. Seeing people getting turned down treatment due to them not being able to afford bills as low as $20 sickened me. One day, I want to help these said people even if it comes down to me taking money out of my own pocket.


Meg Palacio

My name is Meg Palacio, and I am a junior biochemistry major from northern Rhode Island.  I am a member of the Superior Edge program, Honors program, and second year captain of the women’s Lacrosse team.  My goal in life is to continuously learn and receive my PhD in Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.  I am a naturally curious and inquisitive person who is always asking how and why.  I would like to focus my research on transmembrane proteins, but every topic within the chemistry and biological world excites me.  I would love to see my efforts make a beneficial contribution to the world one day, and find answers to some of my many questions.


Tiffany Nguyen

My name is Tiffany Nguyen.  I am from Livonia, MI and I am a freshman pre-nursing student currently pursuing a BSN.  After completing my undergraduate studies, I intend to go to graduate school to obtain a DNP.  My dream is to become a nurse practitioner with a specialty or two (if it’s possible).  However, I am still exploring what my options are for specialties, so I have yet to officially decide what I want to do, though I am currently leaning more towards pediatric care and/or emergency care.  Some of my career interests that I would love to do at least once in my life are volunteering abroad and travel nursing within the U.S.  When I am not studying, I am either working at NMU Disability Services as a test proctor or out and about adventuring!


Amanda Joslyn

Hello, my name is Mandy Joslyn and I’m from Wheaton, IL.  I am in my first year at NMU with a major in Forensic Biochemistry and a double minor in Spanish and Anthropology.  I hope to become a forensic pathologist one day, so I plan to work towards attaining my MD.  I have always been interested in forensic science and criminal justice so the ideas of speaking for those whose voices have been silenced and being the one who can help give a sense of peace to the family of the late loved one motivates me even more to pursue my medical degree and complete the 13 years of school.  Stemming from my curiosity and drive to know more about the subject, I have been working with Dr. Wankmiller at NMU’s FROST facility on designing buildings and future plans for the site.  We also just recently began an arthropod study as well.  I hope to work with her and the facility throughout my next 3 years here at Northern.  Since FROST is the first cold climate forensic research facility in the world, I hope that the work that I have a hand in there will produce invaluable information for the forensic science community for years to come.  Outside of academics, I am involved in Superior Edge and the Freshman Fellowship program.  I am also a co-president of the Forensic Biochemistry club, president of my house in the dorms, and hall scribe.  In addition, I am a member of the Track and Field club and the Rowing club.  Plus, I have been attending Live Learn Lead and hope that I can become a RA for the next school year.  Also, when I’m not too busy, I love to be outside going on adventures and enjoying time with friends!

Cecelia Ruiz