An active Army reservist, Gordon said her research focus will be
education policy and education funding. The interest comes from
experience. Gordon graduated from Muskegon Heights High School before
a state emergency manager was appointed to run the school district.
"I want to look into the correlation between education and
poverty," Gordon said. "A lot of students from my area were
impacted by the takeover of the district under the emergency manager act."
Pierson will be a graduate research assistant for MSU's sociology
department. She said she was drawn to the department because its
faculty members have a strong foundation in health care inequities.
"l came to Grand Valley knowing I wanted to major in
sociology," Pierson said. "I have a passion for research,
writing and questioning; sociology helps you answer those questions."
Pierson's faculty mentor was Anna Hammersmith, assistant professor of
sociology; Gordon's faculty mentor was Davia Downey, associate
professor of public administration. Both students said the McNair
Scholars staff members and fellow students also played key mentorship roles.
"I will continue to have check-ins with the McNair staff and
they will track your progress," Gordon said. "It's not
hand-holding but support; the advice doesn't leave because you leave
the undergraduate program."
Pierson spent two years in the McNair program and said it helped hone
her research skills.
"Research is challenging and can have many bumps in the road,
but thanks to McNair and my experience within the field of sociology,
I have come a long way," she said.