Scholarship Awards Boost Chemistry, Biology

Scholarship Awards Boost Chemistry, Biology

By Patricia Delaney
Director of Media Relations

An award from a prestigious scholarship program has bolstered Boston College's commitment to undergraduate research in biology and chemistry.

BC is among only 14 universities in the nation to receive financial awards this year from the Beckman Scholars Program. Operated by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the program recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in chemistry and biological sciences research at select universities throughout the United States.

Other Beckman Scholarship recipients this year include Yale University, Dartmouth College, California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Notre Dame. BC is the sole Massachusetts institution to earn an award.

The program provides BC a total maximum award of $88,000 to appoint five Beckman Scholars during a three-year period. Scholars who engage in two summers of full-time research (10 weeks) and one academic year of part-time research (10 hours per week), in collaboration with a Boston College faculty member in biochemistry, biology or chemistry, would receive an award of $17,600 each; those committed for less time would receive less funding. In addition, scholars are invited to attend the Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium, along with their faculty mentors, as guests of the foundation.

Boston College science students with strong academic credentials and who participate in one of the University's honors programs will be invited to apply to a steering committee, led by the Biology and Chemistry chairs and including faculty from both departments. The process will include evaluation of written applications as well as oral interviews before the final decisions are made.

University science faculty said the award underscores BC's ongoing efforts to involve undergraduate students in the kind of research activities generally reserved for graduate students.

"This is a great honor," said DeLuca Professor of Biology Marc Muskavitch, the Biology Department chairman, "as well as an endorsement of the efforts of our faculty to involve undergraduates in scholarship and discovery in the sciences. We look forward to engaging as Beckman Scholars our best undergraduates in those fields."

"The science departments at BC have a strong commitment to involving undergraduates in research projects where they work alongside graduate students and post-doctoral fellows," added Chemistry Department Chair Prof. Larry McLaughlin. "The Beckman award will provide the financial support to enhance these activities in both the biology and chemistry departments."

Muskavitch also noted that the award serves a testament to the potential effectiveness of collaborations among departments at BC, and to the outstanding efforts of Prof. Mary Roberts (Chemistry), Assoc. Prof. Tom Chiles (Biology) and Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundations Relations Jonathan Eden of the Development Office in crafting BC's application to the Beckman Foundation.

The Beckman Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation that supports basic scientific research, primarily in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and medicine.


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