Welcome to the McNair Research Scholars Program

An image of the 2020-2022 McNair Cohort taken over Zoom.
2020-22 Cohort: Samantha Mazariegos, Cindy Berganza, Sebastian Figueroa, Edwin Zamora, Luis Godinez, Andrea Macias, Abel Aragon, Reno Garcia, Stephanie Martinez, Brittany Jasper, Cristian Hernandez, Alicia López, Ruby Gordillo, and Jessika Viveros.

An image of the 2019 - 2021 McNair Cohort standing besides each other outside.

2019-2021 Cohort: Brian Zamora, Kristal Orta Martinez, Sara Moya, Brenda Garcia, Ayuni Kelton, Jazmin Perez Saldana, Julio Mena Bernal, Rogelio Bazan-Flores, Rosamari Orduña, Princess Udeh, Eugene McAdoo, Mia Glionna, Fatiatama’i Folau and Michael Delos Santos. 

About The Program

The UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program was established at UCLA in 2003 as a two-year research-based intensive program that prepares undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. to apply to and excel in the best graduate school programs in the country.

Each year, the program maintains a cohort of 28 juniors and seniors from a variety of majors in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, STEM, and applied or interdisciplinary Sciences. The UCLA McNair program particularly attracts young scholars who are committed to social change and who use scholarship and research as a means to achieve social justice. Hence, the program’s motto to “Transform the Academy.” Additionally, UCLA McNair Alumni work in a variety of professional positions that advance a social justice agenda.

» Download McNair Scholars Program Brochure

Program Curriculum:

UCLA McNair Research Scholars complete a comprehensive and rigorous two-year academic program under the supervision of the Program Director, the Assistant Director, and multiple Graduate Student Mentors.

During their first year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the UCLA Student Research Program (SRP) under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and attend weekly seminars designed specifically for the program. These seminars guide students through navigating the academy and developing research proposals.

In the summer between their first and second year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the six-week UCLA McNair Summer Research Institute. This six-week program includes: workshops and seminars on academic career opportunities; standardized test preparation; writing and research skills; writing a statement of purpose; obtaining letters of recommendation; and completing the graduate school application process. In addition, McNair Scholars begin their independent research projects and present their current findings at the UCLA Summer Symposium.

During their second year in the program, McNair Scholars apply to graduate school and complete, present, and publish their research project and senior thesis. Every Scholar has the opportunity to donate her or his research materials and senior thesis to the Southern California Library.

»View McNair Two-Year Plan

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Abel Aragon

Abel Aragon

Geology, Chicana/o/x and Central American Studies Minor

Research Interests: Paleoclimatology, Paleothermometry, Geochemistry, Climate Change, and Geology.

Cindy Berganza

Cindy Berganza

Psychology, Political Science

Research Interests: Race, Politics, Psychology, Law, and Immigration.

Sebastian Figueroa

Sebastian Figueroa

Astrophysics

Research Interests: Plasma, Interferometry, Mathematical Physics, and Cosmology.

Reno Garcia

Reno Garcia

Sociology, Education Studies Minor

Research Interests: Agricultural Labor, Economic Injustice, Mental Health, and Empowerment and Community.

Luis Godinez

Luis Godinez

Political Science, Public Affairs

Research Interests: Mental Health, Identity, Transfronterizo, Academia, and Education.

Ruby Gordillo

Ruby Gordillo

English

Research Interests: Diversity, Education, Chicanx, Change, and Inclusion.

Cristian Hernandez

Cristian Hernandez

Sociology, Chicana/o/x and Central American Studies Minor

Research Interests: Immigration, Asylum, Mental Health, Central America, and Unaccompanied Minors.

Brittany Jasper

Brittany Jasper

Sociology, African-American Studies and Education Studies Minor

Research Interests: Special Education, Black, Equity, and Racial Profiling.

Alicia López

Alicia López

Sociology, Chicana/o/x and Central American Studies Minor

Research Interests: Immigration, Gender, Race, Neighborhood Change, and COVID-19.

Andrea Macias

Andrea Macias

Psychology

Research Interests: Parenting Students, Education, Self-efficacy, and Relationships.

Stephanie Martinez

Stephanie Martinez

History, Chicana/o/x and Central American Studies

Research Interests: Indigenous, Mesoamerica, History, Colonialism, and Pre-Conquest/Contact.

Samantha Mazariegos

Samantha Mazariegos

Human Biology and Society, Global Health Minor

Research Interests: Mental Health, Trauma, Immigration, Central America, and U.S Immigration Policy.

Jessika Viveros

Jessika Viveros

Political Science

Research Interests: Labor Studies, White Supremacy, Police Brutality, Black, and Abolition.

Edwin Zamora

Edwin Zamora

Psychology, Applied Developmental Psychology and Education Studies Minor

Research Interests: Early Bilingual Education, and Early Childhood Education.

To RSVP to any of the Events and Workshops below, please use the AAP Graduate Mentoring Workshops Registration Form.

Eligibility Criteria

>> Applications open Fall Quarter 2021. <<

Students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a low-income AND first generation college student
    OR
  • Be a member of an underrepresented group within graduate education

Students must also:

  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Be a currently enrolled UCLA undergraduate student
  • Be a third-year or a transfer student who has completed between 90 and 175 units by Fall of the application year
  • Demonstrate academic potential for graduate study
  • Be available during the McNair Summer Research Institute (typically Summer Session A)

Graduate Mentors and Student Staff

Sienna Martinez

Peer Mentor

Staff

Alice Ho, Ph.D.

Director

e: aho@college.ucla.edu

Sandra Brukardt

Office Coordinator

e: sbrukardt@college.ucla.edu