Gannon University: McNair Scholars present summer research to community during 2022 Gallery of Engagement

Four McNair Scholar students spent the summer engaged in in-depth research, culminating in presentations for the community during the 2022 Gallery of Engagement.
Jillian Wells discussed the “Theory of Mind and how Fiction Provides a Trial for Social Interaction in Humans.”
Using the 1855 story “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville as a base, Wells discussed the application of Theory of Mind as “mind-reading” in terms of writing – used to discover the motivations and specific social cues people use to communicate. “I believe this research has the capability of furthering our understanding of social interaction and how fiction, both in novels and other media (such as film and television), can influence an individual’s social capability.”

Sydney Gibson presented on the “Development of an Instrument for a Nonprofit Organization.”
She worked as a research assistant alongside Opened Eyes – a nonprofit offering diversity training and education to the community – to analyze, assess and make recommendations on the pre- and post-test instruments currently used to evaluate progress. Gibson found that there was a significant improvement in test scores post-training, and made recommendations on content. “This helped me to work on a different aspect of research… I have done data collection analysis; however, with this research, I began by analyzing data and working to help develop an instrument. Opened Eyes does diversity training, and that has helped to show me that this is something I would like to continue to work on because it is for a good cause, and the more diversity training and education there is, there is more hope for the world to become a better place.”

Goshuwami Valoy delved into how organizations and their employees communicate with one another in “Telecommunication in the Workplace: Autonomy and Support.”
She set out to learn more about telecommunications amid the rising introduction of technology in the workplace, asking how things like group chats and constant employee access through emails, etc., impacted employee autonomy and feelings of support. “As an aspiring I/O psychology student who hopes to one day work in making companies as safe and comfortable for employees as possible, this research goes hand-in-hand with what my future duties will entail.”

Soleil Rosenzweig spoke to her research on “Racial Injustice in the United States Legal System.”
She focused on the legal system, in particular the Supreme Court, and the role racial bias plays in decisions made to be the law of the land. Noting that the legal system in the U.S. impacts the lives of millions every year, she Rosenzweig focused on The Racial-Dictatorship Era, Civil Rights Era, Post-Civil Rights Era, and Post-Racial Eras of the court, in an effort to spread cultural awareness and break down racial stigmas. “My research has mostly complemented my future aspirations and goals… I knew that I wanted to practice law… (t)his research has made me re-think what kind of law I would like to practice.”

Founded in 1996 in honor of Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D., the laser physicist and Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut, the Gannon University TRIO McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare first-generation or traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students by providing services designed to enhance successful entry into post-baccalaureate education. It demonstrates that students are capable of going beyond course requirements and are truly interested in learning about how an academic discipline approaches problem-solving. Additionally, undergraduate research training provides the skills and knowledge essential for success in the workplace.