Sam Palomares ('11) | McNair Scholar
B.A. in Communication, ACU, 2001
Graduate student at University of Texas
For Samuel Palomares ('11), research is not a chore or a burden - it's a passion. His love of knowledge has led him to pursue a master's degree in communication at the University of Texas, and participation in ACU's McNair Scholars Program was a crucial step along the way.
As an undergraduate in ACU's Department of Communication, Samuel developed his affinity for research, and as a sophomore he learned of the vast research opportunities the McNair Scholars Program offers.
Opening a window to research
"I got involved with McNair because I found out that it offered training in research. My favorite aspect of most classes was doing research papers so I knew I had a knack for doing and learning about research design and methods," Sam says. "I ended up applying my sophomore year, got accepted, began learning how to do research and eventually really fell in love with the academic research enterprise."
The program is named after Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut and a physicist who perished when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. When Samuel learned the program was designed for students with research ambitions like himself, he knew it was an opportunity he could not afford to miss.
"McNair really puts emphasis on learning research by diving right into it, and by the end of your research internship, most McNair scholars receive an opportunity to present their research at a national conference," Samuel says. "It was at the national conference where I knew that graduate school would be the next step for me after ACU."
Networking with professionals
Participation in ACU's McNair Scholars Program allowed Sam to attend the National McNair Conference, expand his research knowledge and network with some of the top research professionals in the nation. In fact, participation in the McNair Scholars Program directed Samuel, a first-generation college student, to pursue his graduate degree.
"The McNair program introduced me to the world of research and allowed me to experience what life could be like as a full-time researcher," he says. "Of course, participation in the program itself will not guarantee you success. But if you have the ambition, drive, passion and the grades to attend graduate school, the ACU McNair Scholars Program will coach you and help you channel your energy into a well-thought-out and competitive application to the program of your choice - in any discipline."
At UT, Samuel is researching dysfunctional communication processes in personal and familial relationships; he is slated to graduate in 2013. After graduation, he hopes to embark on a career in academia or applied research.