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Headshots December 2010While all McNair Scholars learn how to design, conduct and complete a research project with the help of a faculty mentor, they don’t typically get asked to present their work at a national conference.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna and McNair Scholar Kathryn (Baez) Scheeler ’14, of Houston, Texas, found such success with her research, “High Cost for Wisconsin Taxpayers: Underinsured Seek Emergency Departments for Dental Treatment.”

Scheeler’s study was selected for presentation at the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting earlier this fall in Denver, Colorado.

From 443 surveys collected over three years from patients at three community dental clinics in Wisconsin, Scheeler found that 22 percent of underinsured used an emergency department at least once for dental care. Twenty-one percent had to travel more than 11 miles to reach a dental clinic. The research has practical and policy implications regarding the lack of access to dental care.

Through the federally funded Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Scheeler learned step-by-step how to conduct a research project from beginning to end.

“I learned how important it is to utilize the resources available on campus and how valuable networking and mentors are to your success,” she said. “I also presented my research at the University of California Berkley.”

In addition to learning about the research process, McNair Scholars are introduced to the process of applying for and attending graduate school.

“I participated in lectures regarding statistics, writing personal statements for graduate school applications and how to search for schools and what to look for,” she said.

Scheeler recently accepted a program coordinator position for Continuing Education at Lone Star College-Tomball.

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