PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University senior Jennifer Madrigal traveled to Arlington, Va., in October to participate in an Institute of Teaching and Mentoring conference, part of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

Madrigal, a 1998 graduate of Country Haven Academy (Tri-Cities), attended workshops aimed at preparing graduate students for careers in teaching. “We got to learn about others’ experiences as graduate students and about the process in becoming a faculty member,” she said.

The McNair program prepares low-income, first generation college students and students from underrepresented groups in higher education for doctoral programs. Its long-term mission is to increase the diversity of college and university faculties.

Each of the 156 programs across the United States could nominate one scholar to attend the Virginia conference, and 40 were invited. Of its 28 participants, WSU gave Madrigal the nod.

Realizing her good fortune, she will see to it that her peers also benefit from her newfound knowledge. “Everyone won’t have access to the same opportunities in life,” she said, “and it’s everyone’s role in society to share the information we have.”

The workshops, conducted by faculty and professionals from various locations, ranged from shared experiences in postsecondary teaching to students’ motives for attending graduate school. Adviser selection and personal statements for applying to graduate school were also topics.

The Compact for Faculty Diversity in Washington, D.C., sponsored the conference.

Madrigal recently returned from a conference in Delavan, Wis., where she and four other WSU McNair Scholars presented the results of their summer research projects. Chicanos and Latinos in doctoral programs was the subject of her study.

She will graduate from WSU with a degree in comparative American cultures/pre-counseling and plans to begin graduate school in California next fall. She is the daughter of Diana Krahn of the Tri-Cities and Ricardo Ambriz of Fresno, Calif.

The federal grant program was established in memory of physicist and Challenger astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair, providing enriching scholastic experiences to prepare eligible students for doctoral education.