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.

Aarianna Longino


Aarianna Longino currently resides in Humble, Texas. In 2015, she obtained her B.A. in Music-Vocal Performance from Prairie View A&M University. Aarianna then decided to continue her education at the University of Texas at Austin. She obtained her M.M. in Opera Performance in 2018. Aarianna has served as a mentor for middle school, high school, and college students. Through mentoring, she discovered her passion for education, specifically Higher Education. She is currently enrolled at Sam Houston State University pursing her Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership. She currently serves as the Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program. When not working, Aarianna frequently sings in concerts around the Houston area and is currently a member of the Houston Grand Opera chorus. She also enjoys hanging out with family, reading and binging her favorite Netflix series.

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.