Sul Ross State University hosts annual McNair-Tafoya Symposium Monday, October 31

         Oral and poster presentations highlighting undergraduate research will be featured at the 9th annual McNair-Tafoya Research Symposium Monday, Oct. 31 at Sul Ross State University.

The symposium will be held from 3-5 p.m. in the Espino Conference Center, Rooms A and B, of the Morgan University Center. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

Oral presentations include:

*Yelixza Avila, El Paso, “Effects of Body Manipulation on Insect Succession and Postmortem Interval in the Transpecos Region of Texas,” Dr. Christopher Ritzi, Biology, mentor.

* Fabiola Baeza, Presidio, “Diet of the Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) and the Gray Hawk (Asturina nitida) at Big Bend National Park,” Dr. Sean Graham, Biology, mentor.

            * Joey Chavez, Alpine, “The Creative Process in Two Parts: Part One – A Critical Analysis of Barry Lopez’ Creative Process; Part Two – Creative Process in the Style of Environmental Literature,” Dr. Theron Francis, English, mentor.

            Avila, Baeza and Chavez will also present academic posters, along with Alondra Arce, El Paso; Laura Cardona, Fort Davis; Dominic Carrillo, Midland; Stephanie Elmore, Fort Stockton; Jesus R. Guerrero, El Paso; Adrian Maldonado, Alpine; Fabiola Muniz, San Antonio; Keziah Munoz, San Antonio; Jasmin Quinonez, Tornillo; Jarrod Richter, George West; and Gloria Villanueva, San Antonio.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to encourage first-generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in the program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.

The annual symposium is also named in honor of the late Dr. Jesus Tafoya, Sul Ross Professor of Spanish and a long-time advocate of the program.

Named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space shuttle explosion, the McNair Program was established at Sul Ross in October 2007. It is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs.

McNair students received a stipend of $2,000 and three semester credit hours (during the first summer class session) for completed research projects. In addition to the on-campus McNair-Tafoya Symposium, students are encouraged to present their findings at state and national conferences.

For more information, contact Dominique Vargas, director, (432) 837-8019 or

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