St. Olaf News

 

St. Olaf receives prestigious Beckman scholarship grant

A St. Olaf student works in a lab in Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences during Interim. A new grant from the Beckman Foundation will increase research opportunities on campus.

A St. Olaf student works in a lab in Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences during Interim. A new grant from the Beckman Foundation will increase research opportunities on campus.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundationhas awarded St. Olaf College a three-year grant to support undergraduate research in biology and chemistry.

St. Olaf was one of 10 institutions across the nation to win a Beckman Scholars Program grant this year. More than 150 colleges and universities were invited to apply.

“This grant is a recognition of the strength of our student-faculty research,” says St. Olaf Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics Matt Richey.

The $77,200 Beckman Foundation grant will support a multi-year, faculty-mentored research project for four students. St. Olaf will provide additional funding for two more students to conduct research under the Beckman Scholars model, with the goal of attracting students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

Faculty members who will be involved in the Beckman Scholars Program at St. Olaf include (from left) Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Schade, Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics Matt Richey, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Charles Umbanhowar Jr., Professor of Chemistry and CURI Director Mary Walczak, Associate Professor of Chemistry Doug Beussman '92, Assistant Professor of Biology and Chemistry Laura Listenberger, Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeff Schwinefus, Professor of Biology Eric Cole, and Associate Professor of Biology Steve Freedberg (not pictured).

Faculty members who will be involved in the Beckman Scholars Program at St. Olaf include (from left) Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Schade, Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics Matt Richey, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Charles Umbanhowar Jr., Professor of Chemistry and CURI Director Mary Walczak, Associate Professor of Chemistry Doug Beussman ’92, Assistant Professor of Biology and Chemistry Laura Listenberger, Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeff Schwinefus, Professor of Biology Eric Cole, and Associate Professor of Biology Steve Freedberg (not pictured).

The six students selected as Beckman Scholars will receive stipends to conduct research over the course of two summers, as well as funding for 10 hours of research each week during the academic year. Three students will be selected to begin this summer, and another three will be chosen to begin in the summer of 2014.

The grant also provides funding for research supplies and travel, including the opportunity to attend an annual symposium held at the Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.

“This is a very prestigious, career-enhancing opportunity for the students who are selected as Beckman Scholars,” says Professor of Chemistry Mary Walczak, who directs the college’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) Program.

Seven St. Olaf faculty members will serve as mentors to the Beckman scholars: Associate Professor of Chemistry Doug Beussman ’92, Professor of Biology Eric Cole, Associate Professor of Biology Steve Freedberg, Assistant Professor of Biology and Chemistry Laura Listenberger, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Schade, Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeff Schwinefus, and Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Charles Umbanhowar Jr.

Established in 1997, the Beckman Scholars Program provides scholarships that contribute significantly in advancing the education, research training, and personal development of select students in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences.