University News

WIU Student Selected to Participate in Summer Research Program

August 11, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Daniel Ryan Davis (Rockford, IL), a Western Illinois University senior with a double major in African American Studies and sociology, was among a select group of students nationwide chosen to participate in the 2005 Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Initiated in 1986, SROP is designed to expose talented undergraduates to professional and educational opportunities and to encourage students to pursue graduate study and subsequent academic careers.

Davis was among 83 students selected out of 1,100 applicants to participate in the intensive research experience. Students worked one-on-one with faculty mentors and participated in various activities including campus workshops on topics such as graduate admission procedures, financial aid opportunities and test-taking skills, as well as weekly campus-based educational enrichment activities.

“The program has been very interesting, informing, and at times exhausting,” said Davis.

The major focus of the SROP program is the in-depth research project that students conduct while working with a faculty mentor, which included a professional presentation of the research to SROP participants.

Davis chose to focus his research efforts on Chicago Public Schools with his project “Inequalities in Urban School Districts: A Case Study of Chicago.”

“This project looked at the level of achievement and inequalities that exist in schools based on the concentration of white students,” Davis said.

“I also was able to attend the National SROP Conference held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where we attended workshops and communicated with schools and other students from across the country,” Davis added.

“Daniel represents the best that an African American Studies degree can offer students in
discipline, scholarship and character. He has superb critical and analytical talents, knows how to set goals and pursues original scholarly visions,” said Western Illinois African American Studies Chair Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah.

“I am very happy and grateful to have been able to participate in such a respected and selective program that is designed to help underrepresented college students,” said Davis.

A Fall 2003 transfer student from Rock Valley College in his hometown, Davis has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and is on track to graduate this December. This fall he also will serve as a peer mentor for the First Year Experience (FYE) class “Peoples of African Descent” taught by Assistant Professor Audrey Watkins.

“The African American Studies department is proud of Daniel. He will be a great ambassador for our program,” Na’Allah said.

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