May 27, 2019  

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Wright Selected for Southern Miss McNair Scholars Program

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Tamara Wright

Tamara Wright, a student in The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Kinesiology, has been selected for the prestigious Dr. Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. The program prepares undergraduate students for doctoral studies through research projects and scholarly activities.

Wright, a senior majoring in therapeutic recreation and minoring in psychology, will work alongside faculty mentors during the research process. Her research focuses on health, financial and educational disparities that contribute to low participation rates in recreational therapy activities among disadvantaged populations.

“This topic interests me because I plan to increase awareness and participation of leisure activities in our state to mitigate poor health conditions among Mississippi residents,” said Wright, a Pickens, Miss. native.

After graduating, Wright intends to pursue a master’s degree in recreational therapy and doctorate in leisure behavior. She chose therapeutic recreation because she is passionate about empowering others. “Our field involves recreating the mind, body and spirit,” said Wright. “Ultimately, being a recreational therapist will allow me to assist others in reaching their full potential and improving the quality of life in our state.”

The Southern Miss McNair Scholars Program was established in 1999 to honor Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut killed on the NASA Challenger space shuttle in 1986. All McNair scholars participate in a research program, which includes summer classes and mentoring by a faculty researcher and graduate assistant. The research program results in a scholarly research paper and formal academic presentation at the annual Southern Miss McNair Symposium.

“Being a McNair Scholar is an honor like no other,” said Wright. “Among many other accomplishments, he (McNair) earned various academic rewards and was the second African American to fly in space. He is by far one of my biggest inspirations in life. Dr. McNair accomplished his dreams against all odds, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to do the same.”

For more information about the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program at Southern Miss, visit For information about the Southern Miss School of Kinesiology, visit