Rutgers University McNair Scholars, Andres Villegas and Alexis Clavijo attended, The University of California at Berkeley 24th Annual California McNair Scholars Symposium in California from August 4 to August 7, 2016. It was a phenomenal opportunity for these scholars to present their research projects in an academic venue over a course of four days before an audience of academics and graduate program representatives. Read the scholars' experiences below.
Andres Villegas, Rutgers University McNair Scholar, Cohort 2016 states:
"My trip to the University of California, Berkeley served not only as the location for my presentation but affirmed the mission I have set for myself in going to graduate school. The slogan of the conference was, “decolonizing the academy” a point and perspective made clear by the University of California, Berkeley McNair director Juan Francisco Esteva Martinez. I was fortunate to be part of this movement along with like-minded individuals who traveled far and wide to hear the same message.
Alexis Clavijo (McNair Scholar) and I met former Rutgers University McNair scholar, Melanie Plasencia, who embodied the McNair scholar spirit and reminded me that graduate school is not so much of a reach that I once saw it as. I met inspiring faculty including the chair of the Neuroscience program at Berkeley, Dr. Dan Feldman, who convinced me to apply and who deemed me “ready”.
In all, the University of California, Berkeley conference grounded my motivation to attend graduate school and be part of a group of scholars who, indeed, “decolonize the academy”.
Finally, I would like to thank LSAMP and the McNair scholars program without whom this opportunity would not have been made possible."