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Southern Oregon University

McNair Scholars

 Janel Lajoie Field Research Crater Lake National Park 2014

Janel Lajoie 

Field Research at Crater Lake National Park

    Janel L. Lajoie is currently earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Ecology and Conservation. She anticipates graduating summa cum laude in December 2014.

    Janel is interested in the areas of wildlife management and human/wildlife interactions, specifically concerning implications on wildlife in relation to recreational use of our wild and scenic forests and National Parks. While an undergraduate at Southern Oregon University in 2013 Janel conducted research for the university in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy for the purpose of establishing data in 93 control plots in the Ashland, Oregon watershed. Janel utilized GPS and GIS software, determined and navigated to the plot locations, collected and recorded variable and fixed plot data, and applied data analysis techniques to establish baseline information for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project Legacy Tree Effectiveness Monitoring Plan. For a combined practicum and internship in 2014 Janel wrote a competitive proposal and received a fellowship with the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. During the course of this fellowship Janel created a study design and conducted independent research on the abundance of the Black-backed Woodpecker within the National Park boundaries.

    Upon completion of her undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University Janel is committed to continuing her academic journey by attending a wildlife biology based doctoral program which will allow her opportunities to engage in field work and research in harmony with nature.  Janel is looking forward to conducting research with colleagues – the results of which she expects will have a positive effect on communities and the planet.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gregory Jones, Professor of Environmental Studies and Division Director of Business, Communication, and the Environment

Curriculum Vitae

Brochure about Lajoie's 2014 research project: Abundance of the Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) amid recent Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) Infestations within Crater Lake National Park, Oregon


McNair Scholars


Amanda Denbeck


     As a dedicated student working towards two degrees, the first a Bachelor of Science in Emerging Media and Digital Arts, and the second a Bachelor of Fine Arts accompanied by a double ­minor in Art History and Film, Television, and Convergent Media. I will be the first of my family to graduate with an advanced degree in Spring of 2015.

     Research interests include advertising, design history, art history, film, television in relation to gender studies, and cultural studies. I am driven to learn theories of how visual media influences society. This includes being able to bring these theories into my own work as a digital artist. I aim be a critically informed creator of digital media.

     I plan to use my studies as a digital art professor to inspire future potential students by sharing my love for digital art theory and practice. I will also be actively engaged in current research in digital art and visual culture.

     I have completed internships at Britt Festivals (2012) and Blackstone Audio (2013). I have also been involved in the production of several art projects off ­campus and on, such as the Women of a Certain Age 2013 Calendar (used to raise funds for the Southern Oregon Humane Society), and Temple Emek Shalom’s Auction materials. I lead and founded the week­long event entitled the Emerging Media Convention.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Warren Hedges, Lecturer in Convergent Media, Emerging Media and Digital Arts 

Curriculum Vitae

McNair Scholars


Angela West 

     Angela West is earning a Baccalaureate of Arts in History and minoring in the German language with an emphasis on European studies and a concentration on holocaust and genocide studies. Angela anticipates on graduating magna cum laude in June 2015.

     Angela is currently researching the wars and genocides in modern Africa, which she will be presenting at the Southern Oregon Arts and Research in May 2014. She also will be a teaching assistant for Dr. Gary Miller in the history department Spring and Fall 2014. The classes she will be assisting with are: The Nazi Party and the Third Reich and Modern Africa since Independence. She also plans to participate in a summer internship, where she will conduct qualitative research on the Holocaust during World War II. This summer Angela will be submitting this research for publication. Angela’s projects involving holocaust and genocide studies is related to her interest in raising awareness of past and present day genocides, qualitative studies to help countries find solutions to prevent further genocide, and race and ethnic relations. Her academic and research interests are: the Holocaust, World War II, modern Germany, and the genocides and use of child soldiers in Africa.

     Angela’s long term educational goal is to earn a Ph.D. in history, with a focus on Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Angela has had a life long interest in human history and the human experience. She has a prominent interest in becoming a college professor, but also hopes to contribute to her community in many other ways. Her overall goal would be to closely work with a holocaust museum. 

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Miller, Professor of History

Curriculum Vitae

McNair Scholars      


Eric Worthey

       My name is Eric Worthey. I am a non-traditional college student, earning a baccalaureate of arts degree in English with an emphasis in Literary Studies, minoring in Philosophy. I anticipate on graduating with summa cum laude in June of 2016.

       I am interested in the intersection of written history where religion and literature meet. I am fascinated with the way religion shapes thought and belief patterns, as well as the way that people utilize literature to communicate the wide variety of religious thought inspired by individual perceptions and experiences. I am also interested in qualitative research on the effects of the canonical passages in western religion that have been used to usurp the power of certain groups of people like Hebrews and other ethnic groups, homosexuals, and females. I have personally witnessed the miracles and atrocities of religion, which has motivated me to obtain knowledge about religion, combining it with my experiences, and teach individuals with inquiring minds to think freely for themselves. As an undergraduate at Southern Oregon University (SOU), I performed extensive research on the emergence of Christian Literature from oral tradition to written, and the process that was implemented in deciding which texts were deemed either canonical or heretical. This research created a desire in me to probe deeper into the history of Christianity through the vehicle of Philosophy, which led me to the discovery of Thomas Aquinas, a theologian during the Medieval Ages. I am fascinated with Aquinas' work because much of what he speculated still holds true today, and because contemporary philosophers refer to his writings for support in their arguments for the existence of God. Following this, I gained the opportunity to trace the emergence of the character of the devil from a few mentions in Hebrew scripture to an explosion of embellishments to the church liturgy during the Medieval Ages. Other topics I would like to explore are the bible as literature, gender and religion, Holy Grail motif, religious narrative and culture, Medieval European social and religious history, and the history of the English language.

       Upon completing my baccalaureate degree at SOU, I plan to continue my education at the graduate level in pursuit of a doctoral degree in English with a concentration in Medieval Literature. I am excited to explore the ways that literature is used to convey religious ideas and beliefs. I will seek to positively contribute to the academy through the publication of my extensive research on religion and literature. I recognize the importance of education and am committed to life-long learning. I look forward to inspiring the future generation of thinkers by teaching at the university level.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alma-Rosa Alvarez, Associate Professor of English and Writing

Curriculum Vitae

2014 McNair Summer Research Symposium

PowerPoint Illustrated Presentation: The Universal Heroes' Quest

McNair Scholars      


Wesley Wade

        Wes Wade is earning a baccalaureate of science degree in Political Science with an emphasis on strategic studies; a baccalaureate of science in economics, a minor in History, and a Certificate in Applied Finance and Economics. He anticipates graduating in June of 2016 magna cum laude.

       Wes Wade's interests include game theory, Sino-American relations, and the spread of financial contagion. More specifically, he is interested in the utility of game theoretical devices and mathematically rigorous modeling to predict strategic, financial, and political behavior. In his free time, he enjoys playing and listening to bebop, and reading about Chinese History. He is a recipient of the Southern Oregon University Presidential Scholarship and a Southern Oregon University Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Scholar. In his free time, he enjoys playing and listening to bebop, and reading about Chinese History.

       Following completion of his undergraduate studies, Wes looks forward to continuing the research and scholarship he has begun at Southern Oregon University in a doctoral program with an emphasis on either political economy or Sino-American relations. Following earning his doctoral education, Wes Wade hopes to teach Political Science at an American University, continuing his research, and passing on the opportunities he has been granted to others.

McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Hughes, Associate Professor of Political Science

Curriculum Vitae

2014 McNair Summer Research Symposium

PowerPoint Illustrated Presentation: Artificial Intelligence in Political Science