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Publication Date

Fall 2017

Digital Publisher

Digital Commons at St. Mary's University


This is the tenth journal for the McNair Scholars Program at St. Mary's University.


St. Mary’s University, founded in 1852, is a Hispanic Serving Institution, the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Southwest. We are majority female & Hispanic, with over 74% of our undergraduates members of an underrepresented group & more than 20% low-income, first-generation students. The McNair Scholars Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral study through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. It was established in honor of Challenger astronaut and laser physicist Dr. Ronald E. McNair. Since our funding in 2007, over 150 students have become St. Mary’s McNair Scholars and have pursued graduate education throughout the nation at universities including Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Michigan, Yale, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tulane, Fordham, and many others. Recently, our success has come full circle, with a scholar returning to St. Mary’s with her PhD as a full-time faculty member & McNair scholar mentor. The assistant director, Dr. Samadhi Metta Bexar, is also a St. Mary’s alumna who returned to San Antonio to serve students from a similar background: first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented in graduate school. But the McNair program has faced challenges. In 2017, comments by an OMB official questioning the success of several TRiO initiatives led to discussions regarding future funding. McNair students & staff were instrumental in replying to the inaccurate comments & contacting officials to secure the integrity of TRiO funding. In Texas, home to most St. Mary’s students, only 24.5% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher. Texans continue to lag behind the national average at all levels of educational attainment. Among those 25 and older, 8.2% of Texas residents held graduate degrees compared to 10% nationally (US Bureau of the Census). These inequalities in achievement are

reflected in the make-up of the professoriate & impact the availability of role models for our scholars & students. In spite of these and other challenges, our students continue to press forward in their studies & research, examples of which you will read here. With determination, enthusiasm, and encouragement, students propel themselves into a future which was perhaps unimaginable only 20 years ago. Attaining the PhD is not only a career decision for our students; they are animated by the desire to create a more equitable and diverse community & society. Over the course of their research with dedicated mentors, these students have created material pushing the boundaries of knowledge now and establishing guidelines for their future. Beyond that, they have begun to grasp their potential and the power of their voices. All in all, McNair Scholars aim for more than the stars that Dr. McNair studied and dreamed of: they have their eyes set on graduate school and beyond." Samadhi Metta Bexar, PhD, Assistant Director & Jennifer Zwahr-Castro, PhD, Director, IV


Other Education


Analysis of variance; College teachers -- Work-life balance; Gender identity; Missing children -- Identity; Sexual assault -- College students -- Texas; Color blindness; Protest movements; Women -- Sexual assault -- Identity; Skin cancer; Privilege (Social psychology); Modernist authors; Beluga;

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License




Aguilar, Gabriela Aquino; Gonzalez III, Antonio; Herrera, Christa; Jordan, Daisy; Lopez, Brenda; Lucero, Jacqueline; Mondragon, Ximena; Morales, Ashleigh; Ordonez, Juan; Reyes, Gisela; Sanders, Cody; Silva, Paloma

Table of Contents

pg. V

Size or Duration

190 pages


St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tex.)


San Antonio

McNair Scholars Research Journal Volume X