Two Virginia Tech students took home honors at the North Carolina A&T McNair Research Symposium, held Jan. 28-30.

  • Kenneth Basham III of Roanoke, Va., a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, won first place in the undergraduate oral presentation category. His project title is, “The role of toll-like receptor 4 in skeletal muscle adaptation to high-fat feeding.” His faculty mentor is Matthew Hulver, associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.
  • Erica Lee of Virginia Beach, Va., a senior majoring in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, won first place in the undergraduate poster presentation category. Her project title is, “Racial identity, campus involvement, and progress toward on-time graduation.” Her faculty mentor is Rachelle Brunn, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology.

The symposium is held each year at North Carolina A&T State University, the alma mater of the late Ronald E. McNair. A federal grant program is named in his honor. The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to encourage and prepare undergraduate students, who are either first-generation college students with financial need or students from groups currently underrepresented in higher education, for doctoral studies.

Federal funding for the program expired for Virginia Tech on Sept. 30, 2012; however, the university is still supporting the current cohort of student through the 2012-13 academic year.

During the grant program’s 15 years at Virginia Tech, student participants had a near perfect graduation rate and a graduate school enrollment and graduation rate of over 60 percent. Twelve McNair scholars from the program successfully completed doctorate degrees.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.