Current Excel! Scholar Dustyn Montgomery was recenty featured on the St. Thomas Newsroom. Click here to read the story! 


Ashley Demaio has been admitted into the psychology masters program at Vanderbilt University! Vanderbilt is one among many schools Ashley has applied to. Ashley, originally a transfer student from Anoka, has worked very hard over the last few years here at UST to really build her scholarship in preparation for the next steps in her academic career. She began conducting research on the topic of “The Power of Self Talk: Its Effects on Racial Biases” under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Hankerson. The following summer she was awarded the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the department of psychology. She conducted more research here at UST under Dr. Robinson-Riegler and Dr. Sarah Hankerson. 
Great job Ashley!! We are proud!

To learn more about the research that has been done through Excel! and the success of its alumni, check out these Newsroom stories:


Please join us in congratulating our previous McNair and Excel! Scholars for their success in completing advanced degrees and continued work in higher education. 

  • Xing Gao, MPH candidate, will attend University of California Berkeley, partial scholarship. 
  • Stephanie Garcia, Ph.D cadidate Neuroscience, Rutgers University, fully funded.
  • Mondraya Howard, Ph.D candidate at University of Pittsburgh - Pharmacology, fully funded. 
  • Dr. Sally Mahmoud, completed MD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is currently a resident Physician in Baltimore, MD. 
  • Dr. Paul Maitland-McKinley, completed MD and is practicing at Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon. 

Recent Scholars 

Maya Johnson (Major Law), a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior, will be attending Mitchell Hamline School of Law in the fall partially funded. Maya participated in the University of Minnesota's Pre-Law Scholars Program, she was one of 25 students out of 500 to be admitted. The program consisted of LSAT preparation, law school information and panels, and career exploration in the field of law. This past January (January 2017) Maya studied abroad in Guatemala in a class titled Women's Health and Work offered through the Univeristy of St. Kate's Global search for Justice courses.

Xing Gao (Public Health), a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior will be attending UC Berkely in the fall, partially funded, as an MPH candidate in the Department of Public Health.  


Stephanie Garcia (Neuroscience), a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior will be attending Rutgers University next fall, fully funded, as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Neuroscience. She has also been chosen as one of 100 students out of 600 applicants to take an exam for qualification for the Max Planck International Research School in Germany.


Thao Do (Pre-Med), a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior, has been busy doing lots of research. This past summer she had the opportunity to do research at Mayo Clinic, gaining experience in laboratory work and exploring more the field of biological sciences. In the fall of 2015 Thao worked on a research project with Dr. Jessica Siegal of the neuroscience and psychology department. Thao contributed as a second author to their paper entitled: "Effects of early adolescent methaamphetamine exposire on anxiety-like behavior and corticosterone levels in mice". This past november she and her colleague presented their research at the MidBrains conference in Illinois. She is currently continuing her Excel research with mentor Dr. Greg Robinson-Riegler and working with a pediatric neurosurgeon for research at the Children's Hospital. After graduation Thao will be taking one class, reasearching at the U of M, and serving as a medical scribe in preparation for med school. 


Trinh Ha (Public Health), a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior will be attending Loyola University, partially funded, as a MPH candiate in the Department of Public Health. As an Excel Scholar she conducted research on Hepatitis B in Vietnamese populations with mentor Dr. Ruby Nguyen of the University of MN, School of Public Health. After Excel Trinh continued her work on this topic through an intership for the Hepatitis United Twin Cities organization where she worked as a program developer to provide prevention resources and connections to care for at-risk populations. In the summer of 2016, she participated in the Pathway to Research Program through the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a highly competitive program at the U of M. Trinh was one of only ten students selected to participate in this research program! 

   Trinh writes of the Excel Program:

"The information that I learned from Excel! such as how to write a research paper, how to do an oral presentation, and how to make a poster had helped me well for this summer (summer 2016). I would not be able to write a research paper, give a professional oral presentation, and construct the poster well without trainings from Excel! In addition, short training such as to be on time, how to connect with your mentor, how to do informational interviews with your mentor and other faculty, and time management have helped me to do well this summer. I am continuing to work with my current mentor until next spring to finish up this project and perhaps get involved in other projects. I want to say THANK YOU for everything that you have done for me and for pushing me to work hard. Thank you so much Miss Cynthia."  


Jonathan Santos (English), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior will be attening UST in the fall, fully funded, for his Masters in English.                    

       Jonathan writes of the Excel Program:

"Becaue of Excel, and because I was convinced that I can do something above average, something exceptional, I now see myself as a scholar. I would highly recommend this program to any undergraduate students who stirve to see themselves that way." 


Hannah Drazenovich (Pre-Med), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and 2017 graduating senior, has secured an internship in an emergency room which she will do while also applying to medical schools. After her summer in Excel she presented her research at the 2016 McNair conference in WI. This past fall she received a Collaborative Inquiry Grant which is allowing her to continue her research.  


Nykeesha Greer (Operations Management), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and rising senior, is on the move! This past year she has presented her research at the University of Maryland, College Park at the McNair Scholars Program Conference. She was selected as one of two students to represent UST at the State Capitol for the Private College Scholars Showcase, where she presented her reasearch this past February. Nykeesha will be interning at FabCon this summer.   


Kha Lor (Pre-med), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and rising senior, will be conducting research at the Children's Hosptial and Clinics while also studying for the MCAT. Last year she also presented her research at the Ronald E. McNair conference in Delavan, WI and the at the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Tampa, FL. She has also successfully begun the Minnesota Future Doctors Program at the University of Minnesota while continuing research around PTSD at the Veterans Administration hospital. During the spring of 2018 she plans to participate in the study abroad program with the School for International Training. This particular program is held in Jordan and is concentrated on the regional refugee crisis especially in the context of refugee health and humanitarian actions.


Elizabeth DeNio (Neuroscience), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and rising senior, is another student on the roll. Currently she is studying in Copenhagan, Denmark through the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS). She writes, "I will take part in the Psychology program with European clinical psychology as my core course. Each student chooses a core course that involves a week long excursion. The European clinical psychology class takes us to Vienna, Austria. In Vienna, the class will engage in opportunities relevant to the course including a visit to the Freud Museum and a concentration camp. Along with this course, I am taking a European clinical psychology practicum. I will be placed in an unspecified  facility for over thirty hours with mental health patients. Other courses I am taking include a course called "The Social Brain: The Neuropsychology of Social Behaviors", as well as an urban photography class."


Divine Zheng (Pre-Law), a 2016-2017 Excel Scholar and rising senior, had a very busy fall semester. She was invited by the president of Mitchell Hamline and attended the unveiling of the Mitchell Hamline Mobile Law Network. Nicknamed "The Wheels of Justice" an RV redesigned inside to look like a new law office, will transport students around the state to provide a variety of legal services. This semester she is studying aboad in Barcelona, Spain where she will be continuing her pursuit of an education that will prepare her for work as a lawyer and advocate for human rights. This summer Divine is doing the Minnesota Pre Law Scholars Program.  


Roumany Phann, a 2015-2016 Excel Scholar is a rising senior who will be conducting reasearch on campus next year. 


Other past graduates:

Adam Baker, M.A. Higher Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Lauren Miller, M.A. American Studies at Purdue University
Aquanette Early, M.S.W. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Mai Eng Lee, M.S.W. University of Wisconsin, Madision
Ariel Gittens, M.S. Queens University of Kingston, ON