Three BSN Students Named UF McNair Scholars

Published: April 11th, 2018

Category: Academics, Alumni and Friends, Faculty, News, Slideshow, Students

Three junior students at the University of Florida College of Nursing were named UF McNair Scholars for 2018-2019. This prestigious program prepares undergraduate students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree and provides a research stipend of up to $2,800 per student.

The McNair Scholars Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and supports undergraduate students across the university who come from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds and who plan to pursue a Ph.D. Each student is paired with a faculty mentor in his or her respective college with similar research interests. The student and mentor work together throughout the year so the student can gain research experience and develop academic skills and strategies to prepare them for success in higher education.

Eighteen students from across UF were named McNair Scholars. The three juniors from the College of Nursing were: Ilse Velazquez, Tanisia Esalomi and Darchelle Excellent.

Dr. Lisa Scarton and Ilse Velazquez

Ilse Velazquez and Dr. Lisa Scarton

Velazquez is a first-generation Mexican-American, the youngest of six children and a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar. Velazquez was connected with Assistant Professor Lisa Scarton, PhD, RN, through the College of Nursing’s EMBRACE program (Engaging Multiple communities of BSN students in Research and Academic Curricular Experiences). EMBRACE provides unique research and leadership opportunities for nursing students from multiple backgrounds, to create an inclusive environment for different viewpoints in the scholarly nursing community.

Velazquez will work with Scarton on research focused on Type 2 Diabetes prevention and management in racial and ethnic minorities with an emphasis on the American Indian population. The McNair program will give Velazquez the opportunity to both expand her diabetes research and ultimately focus it and develop her own intervention program for the Hispanic population.

Dr. Leslie Parker and Darchelle Excellent

Dr. Leslie Parker and Darchelle Excellent

Excellent is also a first-generation student and Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar. She will be working with mentor Associate Professor Leslie Parker, PhD, ARNP, on research involving educating mothers with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit on ways they can produce more breastmilk. In particular, Parker and Excellent will be working with African-American women in the UF Health NICU because this group experiences higher rates of pre-term delivery, and they are seven times less likely to provide breastmilk, Parker said.

Dr. Robert Lucero and Tanisia Esalomi

Dr. Robert Lucero and Tanisia Esalomi

Esalomi was also introduced to research and her mentor Associate Professor Robert Lucero, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, through the EMBRACE program. Esalomi will be working with Lucero on a pilot study that focuses on African-American women living with HIV. This study will characterize an objective measure of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence through the use of a Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS) called Wisepill. Wisepill is a pillbox used to capture electronically via wireless technology each time a research participant takes her medication.