McNair Staff

Dr. Kandi Tayebi

Principal Investigator

Dr. Kandi Tayebi (PhD University of Denver) is a Professor of English who teaches classes in literary theory and 19th-century British literature. An authority on the Romantic poet Charlotte Smith, Professor Tayebi has published articles on an array of literary and pedagogical topics, including Smith, Margaret Atwood, environmental literature, computers in the classroom, mentoring, and assessment methods for students with disabilities; she has also published creative non-fiction in The Georgia Review. Additionally, she has received over $5,000,000 in federal grants. Professor Tayebi, whose research interests include not only her teaching fields but also women’s and ecological literature, was the feature editor for a volume of the Academic Exchange Quarterly on teaching environmental literature. She formerly directed the Graduate Studies Program in English and was Chair of the Sam Houston State University Faculty Senate. Dr. Tayebi served as Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sam Houston State University from 2009 to 2015 before returning to the classroom.


Dr. Lydia Fox


Dr. Lydia C. Fox is a first-generation college student from Laredo, Texas. She obtained her baccalaureate degree in psychology from Texas A&M University in 1994. She then attended Texas Tech University where she obtained a Master’s degree in 1997 and a Ph.D. in 1999, both in developmental psychology. She was a university professor at a liberal arts college in West Virginia for three years before moving back to Texas. She came to SHSU in January of 2004 at the inception of the McNair Program. She was initially hired as Coordinator and later became Director of the McNair Program. Dr. Fox truly enjoys working with and serving as a mentor for McNair Scholars. She also serves as adjunct instructor for the College of Education at SHSU. Dr. Fox is married to another psychologist, Daniel, and has two children.

Ruby Rodriguez


Ruby Rodriguez is a first-generation college student from Houston, Texas. She obtained her B.A. in English from Sam Houston State University in 2019. She is continuing her education as an English graduate student in Sam Houston State University. Ruby has volunteered and worked as a mentor for people in need of educational and legal services. She continues to pursue a career in higher education that will help marginalized communities and provide a space for them to prosper academically and professionally. Ruby currently serves as the Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program. In her free time, Ruby enjoys spending time with her family and friends, attending comic book conventions, and watching her favorite shows.

Kayli Carrillo

Graduate Mentor

Kayli is originally from El Paso, Texas. In 2020, She obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Spanish from the University of North Texas (UNT), where she also received her certification in Forensic Science. She started the PhD program for Forensic Science in Fall 2020, where she is currently a doctoral candidate at Sam Houston State University. Kayli currently serves as the McNair graduate mentor. She also served as Supplemental Instruction Leader at UNT. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, knitting, and watching tv. Her research interests include improvement methods for low-template DNA.