Beckman Scholars Program

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is an independent, non-profit Foundation originally established in September 1977 for the purpose of supporting basic scientific research, primarily in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and medicine. In 1997, the Beckman Foundation initiated the Beckman Scholars Program, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in chemistry, biochemistry, biological and medical sciences research at select universities and colleges throughout the United States. UCD was selected as one of 11 universities to receive the prestigious 2012-2015 Beckman Scholar's Program Award.

Scholars Program

The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program is to help stimulate, encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented, full-timed undergraduate students who have the potential to be outstanding leaders of the next generation of researchers. The scholars can choose to work with any of the 14 faculty mentors. These research activities shall be centered on research at the interface of chemistry, engineering and the biological and medical sciences.

The research will be performed part-time (ten hours per week) during one academic year and full-time over two summers, immediately before and after the academic year research experience. Scholars must be available and commit to the entire time period to be eligible to receive an award. Once selected to be a Beckman Scholar, a student will retain the funding as long as he/she continues to excel academically, is in good academic standing, and his/her research work shows satisfactory progress.

Total award per student $19,300 for stipend and expenses shown below:

Summer 1 = $6,000
Academic year = $4,000
Summer 2 = $6,000
Travel and supplies = $3,300

Faculty Mentors

The Beckman Scholars Program is strictly limited to the following Mentors. Applicants should choose their preferred Mentor from the list below. A rank ordered list of up to 3 potential Mentors should be provided in the cover letter.

Research Area Topic Mentor (Department)
Structural Biology Protein structure and enzymatic function Andrew Fisher (Chem/MCB)
Plant Development Genetic and Molecular analysis of leaf development Neelima Sinha (Plant Bio)
DNA Regulation DNA repair and recombination Wolf Heyer (Microbiology)
Materials Inorganic Chemistry Nanoparticle synthesis for diagnostic imaging Susan Kauzlarich (Chem),
Molecular Imaging Novel molecular probes for diagnostic imaging Angelique Louie (BME)
Biochemical Sensors Microscale sensors to detect metabolites Cristina Davis (MAE)
Organic Synthesis & Catalysis Enantioselective synthesis of bioactive molecules Annaliese Franz (Chem)
Glycobiology & Synthesis Carbohydrates for cancer and anti-viral therapy Xi Chen (Chem)
Natural Products Chemistry Chemical control of bacterial cell division Jared Shaw (Chem)
Nucleic Acids RNA interference as a platform for new drugs Peter Beal (Chem)
Biomaterials Engineering hydrogels for stem cell differentiation. Alex Revzin (BME)
Tissue Regeneration Synthetic tissue substitutes Kent Leach (BME)
Biochemistry Computer aided design of bioactive compounds Dean Tantillo (Chem)
Organic Synthesis Small molecule repair of protein dysfunction Mark Kurth (Chem)

Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium

During the summer, Beckman Scholars from throughout the country who have completed their academic year and summer terms of undergraduate research activities will gather for an Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.

The Beckman Scholars Annual Symposium will feature:

  • Scientific and poster presentations by Beckman Scholars.
  • Keynote presentations by internationally prominent scientific figures.
  • Series of informal concurrent seminars on topics of special interest by leading scientists from academia, industry and national government laboratories.
  • Social activities.

The annual symposium will be a three-evening, two-day event. All symposium-related travel and lodging for Beckman Scholars and faculty mentors will be paid for by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.


To be eligible for consideration students must be Deans listed, a major in science or engineering, must continue to be an enrolled undergraduate through at least Spring quarter 2014, and be available to participate as researchers as follows: Full-time Summer 2013; Part-time during Academic year 2013-14; Full-time Summer 2014. Note: students graduating Spring 2014 are eligible to apply as long as they are committed to full-time participation in Summer 2014, immediately following graduation.


Applications are due 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, 2014, interviews in April, and committee decisions rendered by May 1, for appointments beginning in the summer (July 1). Applications include the following:

  • Cover letter indicating preferred faculty mentor(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation from former supervisor who can comment on the student's aptitude and promise for a career in research
  • Two writing samples (single spaced, minimum 11 pt font):
    • Writing sample #1-- a one-page summary of a prior research or lab experience in the form of an extended abstract.
    • Writing sample #2—Read the following article and summarize the main points of the work, assess the impact of the work on the field and society, and analyze the future directions for the work by suggesting a set of follow-up studies that would be a logical next step. Please limit your critique to 2 pages. "Direct Recognition of Superparamagnetic Nanocrystals by Macrophage Scavenger Receptor SR-AI" ACS Nano 7(5):4289-4298 by Yin Chao et. al. Article available here.

You may talk to a faculty mentor to enquire about working in their laboratory, but prior selection of a mentor is not a requirement for application. If you do not have a pre-arranged mentor, please list your top 3 choices for faculty mentors in your cover letter.

Submit completed application as a single pdf file by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, 2014, to:
Professor Angelique Louie

Four to five top applicants will be selected for personal interviews where they will be asked to comment on their future career plans and give 5-10 minute presentations on a past research topic or on the proposed research.

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