If you asked Emmalyn Dupree ‘16, PhD ‘20 what her future looked like when she began her undergraduate studies at Clarkson University, earning a doctorate likely would not have been part of her response.
But thanks in part to the McNair Scholars Research Program offered to her as a Biomolecular Science major at Clarkson, Dupree found a path that has led her to complete her PhD in Chemistry.
The McNair Scholars Research Program offers first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds or students from underrepresented groups interested in performing research in science or engineering an opportunity to participate in a 10-week, in-residence summer research program. Students are matched with a Clarkson faculty member whose research interests closely resemble the interests of the student, among other resources.
As a sophomore enjoying research with Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Costel Darie, Dupree found the McNair program while exploring her options for continuing her research, which focused on using proteomics and mass spectrometry to identify protein biomarkers for certain diseases and conditions.
Dupree, a native of nearby Massena, NY, said at the time she was unsure what she wanted to do upon completing her undergraduate degree. She knew she wanted to make a difference in the world of science, and thought that entering industry made the most sense. At the time, she did not know anyone with a doctorate degree or what entering such a program would entail.
“It was quite intimidating and honestly, I felt like maybe I didn’t belong in graduate school,” Dupree said. “I knew that the McNair program would provide me with a lot of information about the process and would immerse me in the field of academia. I knew it would give me the potential to connect with researchers on the PhD track and learn about their experience.”
In Dupree’s experience, being part of the McNair program made an immediate impact. She now had access to the workshops, luncheons, and presentations provided to McNair Scholars and gained vital experience in presenting research. She was afforded the opportunity to attend scientific conferences and continue to learn, which helped lead to her decision to attend graduate school.
“Going to graduate school for my PhD was the best decision I have ever made, and the McNair program was one of the key players in making that a possibility for me,” Dupree said. “The McNair program gave me the confidence I needed to feel like I was prepared for graduate school and that I belonged there. I learned so many invaluable lessons through this program and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my future.”
Having finished her PhD, capped off by her dissertation looking at the effects of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals on the Great Lakes ecosystem, Dupree now works as a scientist for a government contract, using her knowledge of mass spectrometry she gained during her research with Darie through the McNair Scholars Research Program.
Above all, Dupree said the McNair program brought her to the realization she could make a difference through her graduate education and that it would be an important and impactful chapter of her life.
“The McNair program gave me the confidence I needed to feel like I belonged in the world of academia,” Dupee said. “I was provided with all the tools I needed to succeed in the application process as well as the skills to succeed in my studies.”
For more information on the McNair Scholars Research Program at Clarkson, visit www.clarkson.edu/community-underrepresented-professional-opportunities/mcnair-scholars-research-program