Hope College has named sophomores Alicia Bostwick and Skylar Sundquist as 2018-19 Beckman Scholars through the college’s newest — and record eighth — Beckman Scholars Program award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

The Beckman Scholars awards will support Bostwick and Sundquist as they conduct collaborative research with two of the 10 faculty Beckman Mentors on the award.  The two student scholars will work full time during each of the next two summers and part-time during the academic year in between.  Both have participated in research since they were freshmen, and will be continuing to work with their same mentors.

"This year we received several strong applications to the Beckman Scholars Program at Hope College,” said Dr. Jason G. Gillmore, a professor of chemistry and Schaap Research Fellow who wrote the proposal for the grant, which Hope received this past fall.  “After review by a panel of mentors who did not have students apply this year, the panel interviewed three strong applicants but were able to name only two scholars.  Skylar and Alicia really excelled in both the application and the interview and we are confident they will continue their excellent work with their mentors over the next two years.”

Bostwick, a biology major from Zionsville, Indiana, will be working on “Investigating Mechanisms of Regulation of Mitochondrial DNA Transcription” mentored by Dr. Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed, assistant professor of chemistry.  The research is looking into how gene expression within mitochondria, the energy factories of cells, is controlled.

Sundquist, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Paris, Michigan, will be working on “The Regulation of Cellular Proliferation by VACM-1/CUL5 is Dependent on its Posttranslational Modification by NEDD8” mentored by Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, who is the Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker Professor of Biomedicine and Chemistry.  The research is focused on improving the understanding of how cancer develops.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation provides grants to researchers and non-profit research institutions in chemistry and life sciences to promote scientific discoveries, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research.  The Beckman Scholars Program provides support for stipends and supplies for select students at recipient institutions to engage in in-depth research with designated faculty members in biomedically relevant science disciplines.

Hope has held an active Beckman Scholars Program grant since the initiative began in 1998, and with a total of eight has received more than any other college or university in the country.  Only 12 schools were selected this year out of 58 invited to apply.

Since the program began, the college has named 28 students Beckman Scholars, including Bostwick and Sundquist.  The new grant will support a total of four students, with one more beginning each of the next two summers.

The college’s Beckman Scholars are among hundreds of students who conduct mentored collaborative research campus-wide at Hope each year.  Approximately 200 engage in research full-time during the summer, and about 300 part-time during the school year.  The exceptional scope of undergraduate-faculty collaborative scholarship was also honored this year with prestigious AURA (Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishment) recognition from the Council on Undergraduate Research.