Cody Martin and Rachel Porter Become 2018’s Beckman Scholars

LAUNCH congratulates Cody Martin ‘20, and Rachel Porter ’19, for becoming the 2018 Beckman Scholarship recipients.

Beckman Scholar institutions are a part of an elite and carefully-selected program, and participation is strictly invitation-only. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation identifies colleges and universities that will receive Beckman Scholars application invitations. The extremely thorough selection process consists of interviews and a two-part review led by a panel of scientific experts. Institutions are chosen based on their dedication to undergraduate research in chemistry, biology and/or combinations thereof and their capability of competing in national level programs.

The Beckman Foundation supports researchers and institutions in their journey towards new methods of research. Texas A&M University was one of twelve institutions that will collectively receive $1.5 million in science funding in 2018. $27 million have been awarded to over 1,300 students since the Foundation’s first award 20 years ago.

Beckman Scholars are identified as the top undergraduate students majoring in specific science fields during their freshman year. Once students are selected, they begin careers in research under the supervision of faculty mentors in their departments as early as the summer prior to their sophomore year. Beckman Scholars continue their research projects until graduation and are also expected to participate in many activities such as leadership and research programming, including networking opportunities, exposure to the review and publication process of scientific research, as well as preparation for the process of graduate or professional school application.

Cody Martin '20, posing for a portrait
Cody Martin ’20, Biochemistry and Genetics

Cody Martin ‘20

Cody Martin, a biochemistry and genetics double major from Red Oak, Texas, is particularly intrigued by the combination of science and technology in healthcare, hoping to apply microscopic phenomena in a manner that is beneficial. He is beginning his research on the mechanisms of bacteriophage lysis as a Beckman Scholar with Dr. Ry Young. Martin’s work will focus on how a new class of potential antimicrobial peptides derived from bacteriophage destroys bacterial cells. “I enjoy that medicine is not a stagnating field: Professionals must be adaptive and stay current with advances. I wouldn’t like to do the same exact thing every single day! Therefore, my dreams align quite well with my personality traits,” says Martin. Most recently, Martin has joined a Global and Local Health committee, which educates and brings awareness to health issues from a political standpoint. Martin’s long term goal is to pursue an MD/PhD and enter academic medicine as a medical geneticist researching the genetic aspects of disease.

Rachel Porter '19, posing for a portrait
Rachel Porter ’19, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Rachel Porter ‘19

Rachel Porter, a molecular and cellular biology major from Kempner, Texas, is currently working with Dr. Steve Lockless researching ion channels in E.coli. Porter compares the fitness of a strain to observe differences in growth given different environmental conditions. As A Beckman Scholar, she will start research this summer with her Beckman Mentor Dr. Deb Bell-Pedersen studying whether ribosomes, the protein producers of the cell, have different compositions and activiities during the day and at night. Her long term goals include continuing on to graduate school to study biology. Porter says that her time at Texas A&M has only confirmed her choice to pursue a path in research; “before starting, I thought I wanted to pursue a career in research, after joining the lab, I know I want to. I have enjoyed every aspect of research, from the work itself to the people I’ve met along the way.”

Cody Martin and Rachel Porter were two out of 58 undergraduate scholars within 12 universities to be chosen to receive the Beckman Foundation scholarship. They join an elite group of six Beckman Scholars in Texas A&M history thus far.

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