Texas A&M is an institution with a high level of cutting-edge research activity as acknowledged by our Carnegie Foundation ranking and the funding brought in by our faculty from NIH, NSF and other very competitive funding sources. We also know that the dedication of our faculty and students to undergraduate research is stellar. Based on our outstanding research accomplishments, Texas A&M was invited last fall to be part of a select group of institutions to apply for a Beckman Scholars Program award to support undergraduate research in chemistry, biochemistry and associated life sciences. We are proud to announce that TAMU is one of 12 institutions nationwide that was just awarded funds for our first ever Beckman Scholars Program! This puts us in a select group of institutions currently funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation such as the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, UCLA, the University of Michigan, University of Virginia and the University of Texas-Austin.
The Beckman Scholars Program was established to recognize and support outstanding undergraduate researchers in chemistry and the biological sciences, those whose studies of “the chemistry of life” will lead to “the invention of new methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.” Those students selected as Beckman Scholars will be following in the footsteps of Arnold Beckman, who started his studies at age 10 in a tool shed and founded Beckman Instruments in 1935 while a professor at CalTech. On the way to building his company into a leading source of instruments and supplies for both basic and clinical research, Arnold invented the pH meter and the spectrophotometer and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.
The Texas A&M Beckman Scholars Program will identify the top students majoring in Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry or Genetics in the spring semester of their freshman year. Once chosen, the Beckman Scholars will start their undergraduate research careers with the top Beckman faculty mentors in their department the summer prior to their sophomore year with research projects that they will continue through graduation. Beckman Scholars will participate in a series of leadership and research programming designed to give them a unique depth and breadth of understanding of the research enterprise. These experiences and opportunities include access to student peer mentors and faculty research advisors, leadership training such as communication skills and conflict management, insight into and participation in the scientific review and publication process and preparation for national fellowship and graduate or professional school applications. Beckman Scholars will receive significant scholarship support during summers and academic years as well as additional funds towards the cost of research supplies or travel to professional conferences. The funding for this support comes not only from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation but also from the TAMU office of the Vice President for Research. These programs are supported in part by generous donations by the Association of Former Students.
Our Beckman Scholars will have the support of a national philanthropic foundation, Texas A&M and our former students as they mature and grow into innovative, experienced scientists. We look forward to introducing our first Beckman Scholars to the TAMU community at the end of this academic year!