2023 UMBC McNair Research Symposium

UMBC McNair Research Symposium w/
the National Science Foundation (NSF) and
The U.S. Department of Education


We are thrilled to announce the partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF), The US Department of Education, and the UMBC McNair Scholars Program. With a commitment to inclusive excellence in research, 9 McNair Scholars from around the country will have the opportunity to present their research to NSF and Dept of Ed leaders as part of the 31st Annual UMBC McNair Research Conference. All attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from NSF about opportunities for them as undergraduates and even beyond.






Updated Tentative Schedule for the UMBC McNair Research Symposium

Any questions or concerns, please email our UMBC McNair staff at mcnairs@umbc.edu


08:20 am – 08:50 am Student & NSF Presenters – Tech Check
09:00 am – 09:10 am Welcome

Michael A. Hunt, MDiv. 

Director, UMBC McNair Scholars Program

Reshone Moore, Ph.D.

Senior Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Education

Carmen Gordon

Program Lead, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement, U.S. Department of Education

Charisse Carney-Nunes, JD/MPA

Deputy Division Director, Division of Graduate Education

NSF Directorate for STEM Education

09:10 am – 09:25 am Presentation 1 – Michael Xiao
09:25 am – 09:40 am Presentation 2 – Giovanni Cordova
09:40 am – 09:55 am Presentation 3 – Nyla Howell
09:55 am – 10:10 am Presentation 4 – Ashley Gelin
10:10 am – 10:25 am Presentation 5 – Ethan Feldman
10:25 am – 10:30 am BREAK
10:30 am – 10:45 am Presentations 6 & 7  (2 poster presentations)

Petvy Li, Orlensy Castillo

10:45 am – 11:00 am Presentations 8 & 9 (2 poster presentations)

Aleiyah Fields, Mary Rose Khamfong

11:00 am – 11:05 am Break
11:05 am – 11:55 am NSF Opportunities 

Narcrisha Norman, Ph.D.

Where to Find Undergraduate Opportunities

NSF ETAP Introduction and Site Demonstration

Elizabeth Weber, Ph.D.

NSF GRFP Overview and Q & A

Christopher Hill, Ph.D.

11:55 am –

12:00 pm


Michael A. Hunt, MDiv. 

Director, UMBC McNair Scholars Program


Michael Xiao, Binghamton University, Biological Science

“Cytotoxicity of Commercial Tattoo Pigments”


Giovanni Cordova, University of New Mexico, Mechanical Engineering

“Autonomous Robotic Manipulation of Orbital Replacement Units for Satellite Servicing”


Nyla Howell, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Geography & Environmental Systems

“The Role of Disaster Subcultures in Local Business Community Preparedness: A Case Study of Stakeholders in Northern Monmouth County, New Jersey”


Ashley Gelin, Penn State University, Biochemistry

“The Evolutionary History of Liver X Receptors and its Implications for Functional Specificity”


Ethan Feldman, Rochester Institute of Technology, Information Systems/Deep Learning

“Detecting Review Manipulation Using Transfer Learning in Heterogeneous Knowledge Graphs”



Petvy Li, Hunter College, Nanotechnology

“ Disassembly of Collagen Networks by Magnetic Brownian Motion of Iron Oxide Nanocages”


Orlensy Castillo, SUNY Brockport, STEM Education

“Diversity In the STEM Field: Why Does Representation Matter?”


Aleiyah Fields, Oklahoma State University, Psychology

“Analysis of the Unique Challenges of Native Americans Growing Up on Reservations”


Mary Rose Khamfong, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Psychology

“Digital Storytelling: Well-being and Lao American Initiative”





The students will be chosen by conference staff based on their attendee profile form and possibly nominated by their McNair program staff. To ensure eligibility for scholars to present in this unique experience, we ask that they keep in mind the following:

  • McNair Directors/Coordinators can nominate one of their registered scholars by completing the Conference Support Form[LINK], choosing the McNair Symposium as the option, then sharing their rationale for their nomination in the Comment section. The deadline for nominations will be August 1st, 12 pm EST. 
  • Scholar presenters will have needed to complete the attendee profile by the August 1st deadline (firm deadline for this partnership experience).
  • Scholars will need to have answered affirmatively to the question that asks if they want to be considered for this opportunity:
  • “Would you like to be considered for the opportunity to be the special guest of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and present your research to their leaders on Friday morning? This will be in lieu of presenting on the Saturday of the conference. You will still be considered a conference presenter. You will also be NSF’s special guest at the Saturday lunch.”
  • They must also have answered affirmatively that they want their information shared with the graduate programs, which is a question on the attendee profile sheet.
  • If chosen, they will need to submit the final PDF version of the presentation and poster by September 1st. Details will be sent to them on how to do so.
  • Due to budget and hotel constraints, the symposium will be virtual. Although they will be presenting virtually on Friday morning, they are required to be on-site staying at the host hotel for the duration of the conference.  This ensures that if there are any technical issues or concerns, our staff will be able to help mitigate them as necessary.
  • Selected Presenters should bring their own laptops to use, but if issues arise, we will have a few to be loaned.
  • Must check in at the conference registration table between 2 pm – 3 pm on Thursday to ensure their presentation space. They will also need to be on Zoom Friday 8:20 am for a technical run-through.
  • If chosen for this opportunity, the ticket for the cultural event will be refunded if purchased, as the student can’t do both.
  • They (and several other attendees) will also be special guests of NSF during the conference’s Saturday lunch session.