Participants analyzing with Buck and Robert
In February, we welcomed a new cohort of McNair Scholars to the UROC family. Designed to assist first-generation, low-income students and those who are underrepresented at the doctoral level, the program was first funded at CSUMB in 2009 and has since successfully served more than 10 cohorts of McNair Scholars. At a recent McNair Orientation for new scholars, we took a deep dive into the background of Dr. Ronald E. McNair whose legacy lives on through the countless students it helps support and we heard from TRIO Associate Director, Kyrstie Lane on the nationwide impact of the federally-funded TRIO program, which got me thinking a lot about the value of partnerships. 

The McNair Scholars program continues to grow each year thanks in large part to the commitment shown by a newly established McNair Advisory Collective*, a group of CSUMB staff, faculty, and administrators who were also undergraduate McNair Scholars. The McNair Professional Panel moderated by now McNair Alumni Bryant Tayor that took place during Undergraduate Research Week 2021, was the first event that panelists highlighted the challenges and successes of graduate school persistence. But this event was just the beginning. The McNair Advisory Collective continues to support not just through providing authentic research experiences to McNair students, but with deep and thought provoking conversations about identity and belonging in academia. During the past academic year, they’ve hosted several academic and social development workshops as well as participated in the most recent McNair Orientation making connections with the new and returning McNair cohorts to enrich the McNair community experience at CSUMB. We are most grateful for their support and involvement.  

Speaking of partnerships that enrich the student experience, UROC is proud to partner with Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) to offer the Introductory College Apprentice Research Experience (iCARE) program to MPC and CSUMB undergraduate students at the CSUMB campus. Much like our former Community College Apprentice Research Experience (CCARE) program, students in the iCare program will be connected with a faculty mentor to work on a summer long research project with the aim of stimulating participants’ interest in pursuing 4-year STEM degrees. 

Exciting times are ahead!

John Banks, Ph.D.
Director of UROC

*McNair Advisory Collective: Renee Penalver, Kiki (Christine) Rosales, Kenny Garcia, Christine Valdez, Chrissy Hernandez, and Juanita Cole. Members also include, Kyrstie Lane, TRIO Associate Director and UROC Staff: Eric Barajas, Corin White, John Banks, and Natasha Oehlman. Faculty & Staff: If you are a former McNair Alum and want to be part of the collective, contact

**Image of Liz Gallegos, Robert Tournay, and Buck analyzing data collected during Costa Rica Expedition.