Allegheny Receives Beckman Scholars Program Award in Support of Student Research

April 5, 2012 — Allegheny College is one of only 11 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a 2012 Beckman Scholars Program award in support of student research. The purpose of the program, established in 1997 by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, is to help “stimulate, encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented undergraduate students at our nation’s universities and colleges; young people who ultimately will become prominent leaders in their scientific and professional pursuits.”

The $77,200 award to Allegheny will support four students across the next three years as they conduct research in chemistry, biochemistry and biology. Selected as sophomores or juniors, the students will conduct research with faculty members full time during two summers and part time during the intervening school year.

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 at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.

Allegheny is in the process of selecting its first Beckman Scholar and expects to announce the award recipient by the end of April. The scholar will work with one of four Allegheny faculty who will be Beckman Scholar mentors: Shaun Murphree, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Martin Serra, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; David Statman, professor of physics and chemistry; and Scott Wissinger, professor of biology and environmental science.

Allegheny’s Beckman Scholars will join a large community of Allegheny student researchers. About 75 Allegheny students conduct research with faculty each summer, for example, and they present their work to the campus research community and other guests during a weekly research series. In addition, many students co-author papers in peer-reviewed publications with their faculty mentors and accompany them to regional and national conferences to present their work.

Colleges and universities have to be invited to apply for the Beckman Scholars Program award. Typically, about 150 institutions submit applications in response to the invitation. In addition to Allegheny, the colleges and universities to receive Beckman Scholars Program awards for 2012 are Bucknell University; Furman University; Hope College; San Francisco State University; the University of Alabama, Birmingham; the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Chicago; the University of Oregon; and Vanderbilt University.