Hope College has received a record ninth Beckman Scholars Program award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in recognition of excellence in faculty-student collaborative research in bio-medically related sciences.
Hope is the only college or university in the nation to have had an active award since the grant program began in 1998, and is one of only 12 to have received an award this year. The recipient institutions, which were announced by the foundation on Tuesday, Jan. 19, were selected after a rigorous application process which included a two-part review led by a panel of scientific experts.
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation supports leading-edge research, in the fields of chemistry and life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that open up new avenues of research and application in those sciences and related disciplines. 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 bio-medically relevant science disciplines.
In addition to 1998 and this year, Hope received Beckman Scholars Program awards in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2015 and 2018.
The principal investigator for the new award is Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, who will serve as administrator of Hope's Beckman Scholars Program for the next four years. Dr. Jason Gillmore, principal investigator of Hope's prior BSP Award, will serve as co-director of the program. Each is a professor of chemistry, and they are among the 10 faculty from biology, chemistry, engineering, geological and environmental science, and physics serving as potential mentors in the new award. The others are Dr. Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed (chemistry), Dr. Jennifer Hampton (physics), Dr. Brent P. Krueger (chemistry), Dr. Jonathan W. Peterson (geological and environmental science), Dr. Katharine H. Polasek (engineering), Dr. William F. Polik (chemistry), Dr. Philip Rivera (biology) and Dr. Christopher R. Turlington (chemistry).
The $104,000 award to Hope will support a total of four students across the next three years, beginning this summer, as they conduct research mentored by one or more of the above faculty. Selected as sophomores or juniors through a competitive process, the scholars will each receive a total of $21,000 in support to conduct research with faculty members full-time during two summers and part-time during the intervening school year. They will also be expected to major in one of the supported disciplines and to stay involved in research at Hope as seniors, in the hope that they will pursue bio-medically relevant careers in the sciences or health professions.
In addition to providing sizable stipends to the selected student scholars and smaller stipends for their respective faculty mentors, the award includes funding for related supplies and travel. The foundation also hosts an annual research symposium for the program’s student scholars from across the nation each summer.
Since the program began, the college has named 30 students as Beckman Scholars, of whom 28 have graduated and two are currently enrolled. The recipients have subsequently received a variety of major external honors through the years, including Goldwater Scholarships and Honorable Mentions; Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships; and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. A total of 19 have continued to graduate school, five to medical school and three to MD/Ph.D. programs.
The college’s Beckman Scholars are among hundreds of students who conduct mentored collaborative research campus-wide at Hope each year. Approximately 150 engage in research full-time during the summer, and about 350 participate in research alongside their coursework during the school year.