Discover Your Island

Islander McNair Scholars Give Back to Local Boys and Girls Club

September 20, 2016

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Scholarship is more than research and good study habits – it’s also giving back to the community. Three Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students did just that by inspiring and encouraging the local youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Corpus Christi during a visit in August. Elisa Silva, Corbin Lewis and Jermeka Morrison, all part of the McNair Scholars Program, each exhibited scholarly spirit by presenting fun and educational research to the children there.

Silva, a sociology and criminal justice double major, gave a presentation titled “Bullying and Stigma: Breaking Them Down and Preventing Them,” to children six to nine years of age. Her presentation focused on the sources of bullying and how it arises in society. Once bullying was defined, Silva showcased to the kids some examples of celebrities who overcame bullying and gave them tips on what to do if they're being bullied.

“The kids loved it,” said Silva. “I hope that if nothing else, they took away the idea that just because someone or something is different than what we're used to, we must remember not to make assumptions and to be kind to others.”

Lewis, a chemistry and mathematics double major, presented “Chemical Reactions and Reactivity” to 10 to 12-year-olds. Lewis demonstrated interesting chemical reactions, such as turning pennies to the color gold and also making elephant toothpaste – a demonstration that creates a volcano of foam.

“My intent of showcasing the reactions was to let the kids see the physical and chemical changes and to show how interesting chemistry can be,” said Lewis. “I hope this sparks the children’s interest in the sciences, something my teacher did for me when I was their age. Maybe some of them will become the scientists of tomorrow.”

Morrison, a criminal justice major, worked with 13 to 16-year-olds, delivering her presentation “Aggressive, Distracted, and Improper Driving Behaviors.” Using a PowerPoint presentation, group charades activities and the personal experiences of the youth, Morrison instructed proper driving habits and behaviors to avoid.

“The teens enjoyed the presentation,” said Morrison. “It was great to see them participate, ask questions and share their experiences. I hope this leads to an increased interest in safe driving.”

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.