McNair Scholar Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Posted on 4/8/2016 2:39:33 PM
Kara McClain

Newsmaker from the IUP McNair Scholars Program

Kara L. McClain, IUP McNair Scholar, Cook Honors student and rising senior nursing major, has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year.

According to the Goldwater Scholarship website:

“Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees awarded 252 scholarships for the 2016–2017 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the institutional representatives of 415 colleges and universities nationwide.

The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs.”

McNair Scholar and Cook Honors College Student 

McClain is most deserving of this prestigious distinction. She is a Cook Honors College student and joined the IUP McNair Scholars Program during her sophomore year, one of few students to earn such an honor. As a McNair scholar, she has excelled, maintaining a GPA of 3.96.

Her McNair research project, which will form the basis for her Honor’s Thesis, is titled “Spatial variation in the prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi in Ixodes scapularis ticks from Northeast and Midwest United States” and is part of a larger project with her mentor, Dr. Vida Irani.

Presented Research Proposal at National Conference

Her proposal was so strong she was selected to present it in its early stages at the 21st National McNair Research conference sponsored by SUNY-Buffalo and held in Niagara Falls, NY in July, 2015. She has also had the opportunity to make a research presentation at the Allegheny Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.

In addition to her research experiences here at IUP, McClain has also completed rigorous clinical hours at various clinical sites, including Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She has also held both paid and volunteer position(s) that directly provided her hands-on experience in the medical field.

Tutors High School Students

Since becoming a McNair scholar, she has also served on a voluntary basis as a math and science tutor for high school students in our Upward Bound Math and Science Program.

McClain is the second IUP McNair scholar to receive this prestigious award. Daniel O’Hara, ’14, earned the honor during his senior year at IUP. O'Hara is now in his second year of a PhD program in geophysics at the University of Oregon, fully funded on an NSF graduate assistantship.

Given her hard work and outstanding accomplishments, McClain will continue in this trajectory to earn her MD/PhD degree and become a medical researcher.