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Vanderbilt one of 15 universities selected for Beckman Scholars Program

Apr. 2, 2008, 4:10 PM

Vanderbilt University is one of 15 universities selected by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to participate in a unique program to support undergraduate research.

The three-year grant will provide $19,300 apiece to support up to six Vanderbilt undergraduates who are interested in careers in biomedical sciences for two summers and one school year (15 consecutive months) to give them experience in conducting laboratory research. Students will receive stipends of $6,000 each summer and $4,000 for the academic year in return for working on research projects 40 hours per week in the summers and 15 hours per week during the academic year.

“The Beckman Scholars Program is the only program that supports undergraduate research for such a long time, including the academic year,” said Professor of Chemistry Jeffrey N. Johnston, who is administering the program with Ellen Fanning, professor of biological sciences, and Michelle Sulikowski, senior lecturer in the chemistry department and director of education at the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology.

In addition to the six students supported by the foundation, the dean of the College of Arts and Science has put up matching funds to support an additional student, who will be known as the Dean’s Beckman Scholar.

The program is by invitation only. The application was submitted by the chemistry and biological sciences departments. The foundation asked them to list 10 faculty members who will serve as mentors for the scholars. Applicants were asked to provide data such as the number of undergraduates who have worked in the mentors’ laboratories in the last five years, the number of papers they have published with undergraduates as co-authors, the number of presentations with undergraduates and other information that allowed foundation reviewers to assess their track record in mentoring undergraduate students.

“Fortunately, we have a large number of faculty members who qualify in this regard,” said Johnston.

Program mentors include: Bruce Appel, associate professor of biological sciences; David Cliffel, associate professor of chemistry; Ellen Fanning, professor of biological sciences; Kathy Friedman, assistant professor of biological sciences; Todd Graham, associate professor of biological sciences; Christopher Janetopoulos, assistant professor of biological sciences; Jens Meiler, assistant professor of chemistry; Sandra Rosenthal, associate professor of chemistry; Michael Stone, professor of chemistry; and David Wright, associate professor of chemistry.

More information on the program is available on its website. The link is

Media Contact: David F. Salisbury, (615) 322-NEWS

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