Claremont, Calif. (April 18, 2012) — Pitzer College students Marlene Salazar ’13 and Kimberly Vargas ’13 have been named 2011-12 McNair Scholars by the McNair Scholars Program at the Claremont Graduate University (CGU).
Salazar is an environmental analysis and history major who plans to pursue a graduate degree in environmental policy, focusing on race and environmental justice. She believes environmental justice should play larger role in the policy-making process, especially with issues such as the impact of climate change on low-income communities.
Vargas, an anthropology and Spanish major at Pitzer, plans on pursuing a PhD in medical anthropology. She wants to research cardiovascular diseases and health disparities affecting the Latino community.
Through the CGU McNair Scholars Program, selected college juniors or seniors participate in a six-week summer academic program designed to help them develop skills crucial to obtaining a graduate degree. McNair scholars receive 10 units of graduate credit after completing three graduate level courses during the summer session. Scholars are then paired with a faculty mentor and embark on a year-long collaborative research project.
Established in 1986 by the US Department of Education, the program was created to honor engineer, scientist and astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who was a crew member on the Challenger space shuttle that broke apart just after launch in January 1986. The CGU McNair Scholars Program encourages first-generation, low-income or under-represented students from undergraduate institutions throughout Southern California to pursue graduate studies. Since the program began in 1993 at CGU, 30 of the 295 McNair scholars have been from Pitzer College.