FIU Scholar Defeats All Odds and Awarded NSF Fellowship

Posted by on Friday, May 19, 2017 5:15 - 0 Comments

Few would challenge that Claire Scott-Bacon is an inspiration. From immigration, marriage, divorce, and raising two boys, Claire enrolled in college at 48. She has defeated all odds and is on her way to becoming Dr. Scott-Bacon.

Claire, took a chance and applied to the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at Florida International University in 2015. Her leap of faith paid off when she was one of the twenty-seven students selected to be part of the prestigious program.

As part of her McNair Summer Research Internship, Claire attended the University of Notre Dame. She served as a research assistant in the clinical psychology lab, where she gained an in-depth look at how personality and individual differences are measured, ultimately concluding in her research paper “Snakes in Skirts”, a study on the rise of female incarceration.

“My acceptance into the FIU McNair Scholars program was the turning point in my academic and future professional career,” said Claire. “The McNair Scholars program created a positive learning environment which gave me the opportunity to spread my wings.”

As an FIU McNair Fellow, Claire presented her research findings at research conferences nationwide, including at the FIU McNair Scholars Research Conference last October.

At 53, Claire graduated from FIU’s Honors College with a double bachelor’s in psychology and criminal justice.

Claire’s hard work and perseverance paid off when she was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP). This national fellowship supports selected graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) disciplines at accredited US institutions.

This year, 13,000 students applied nationwide and only 2,000 were awarded the NSF GRFP. Claire was one of three FIU students selected to receive the renowned fellowship, and the only undergraduate student to be awarded.

Claire will continue her education at The University of Notre Dame to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology, and expand on her research on personality scales and traits.

In Claire’s own words, “Through determination and discipline, I was able to apply to graduate school to become the doctor, researcher, and influential woman I was never encouraged to be”