posted April 24, 2008

Beckman Foundation Award Funds Student Research

 Hope College has received a fifth consecutive award for student research from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation of Irvine, Calif., the only college or university in the nation to have received continuous support through the program since it started.

Hope is one of only 15 institutions nationwide to receive a "Beckman Scholar Award" for 2008. Hope also received awards in 1998, the year that the program began, and 2000, 2002 and 2005.

The list of recipient institutions includes two colleges from Michigan: Hope and Calvin College.

The Beckman Scholars Program is an invited program for accredited universities and four-year colleges in the United States. It provides scholarship support to select students at the recipient institutions in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences with an emphasis on sustained, in-depth laboratory research experiences with faculty mentors.

The $77,200 award to Hope will support a total of four students across the next three years as they conduct research in biology, biochemistry/molecular biology or chemistry. The award will support the students as they conduct research with faculty members full-time during two summers and part-time during the intervening school year.

The students will be biology, biochemistry/molecular biology or chemistry majors who will be juniors at the start of the school year following their initial summer experience. They will be expected to stay involved in research at Hope as seniors.

In addition to providing stipends for the students, the award also includes funding for related supplies and travel. The foundation hosts an annual research symposium for the program's student scholars and their faculty mentors each summer.

The Beckman Scholars are among scores of students who conduct research campus-wide at Hope during both the summer and the school year. Each summer, approximately 180 students engage in research full-time with Hope faculty mentors.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation was established in 1977. The foundation supports leading-edge research in chemistry and the life sciences, and fosters the invention of methods, instruments and materials to open new avenues of research and application in those disciplines and related sciences. The foundation's support of education ranges from programs for elementary-age students to support for young scientists engaged in research at universities and research institutes.

The foundation recently co-sponsored a symposium scheduled in celebration of the Beckman Scholars Program's 10th anniversary that was held on Monday, April 7, in conjunction with the National American Chemical Society meeting held in New Orleans, La. Dr. Moses Lee, dean for the natural and applied sciences and professor of chemistry at Hope, was among the invited speakers, presenting the address "The Beckman Scholars Program: Impact on the Awardees, the Mentor's Research Program, and the Department."

This year's proposal from Hope was written and submitted by Dr. Leah Chase, who is an associate professor of biology and chemistry, and Dr. Christopher Barney, who is the T. Elliott Weier Professor of Biology at Hope.

In addition to Hope and Calvin, the colleges and universities to receive Beckman Scholars Program awards for 2008 are: Bates College; Boston University; Georgetown University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Haverford College; Indiana University; Lewis and Clark College; Middlebury College; Northern Arizona University; the University of Delaware; the University of Kentucky; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Vanderbilt University.