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The research activities performed by Beckman Scholars shall be conducted under the guidance of one of the Beckman Scholar Faculty Mentors. On being chosen as a Beckman Scholar, the Scholar will be asked to nominate their chosen faculty mentor, and they will enter a written agreement, covering what is expected of the student and of the mentor during the period of the Scholarship.

This agreement will include a Scholar commitment to an average time spent in the lab weekly, to keeping a good lab notebook record of their work, and to attend and participate in the research group meetings. The Mentor will agree to set aside a regular time to meet with the Scholar to discuss progress and give advice. The Mentor will also agree to supervise the Scholar's research experience, including training in literature review, lab technique, instrumentation, and experiment design. The Mentor will assign a senior graduate student, postdoctoral fellow or themselves to spend time with the Scholar during the training period.

The long duration of this program is designed so that there is enough time for the Scholar to learn the basics for the field of research they have entered, so that they will ultimately progress towards their own research project. The agreement will explicitly state that a Beckman Scholar is not merely an assistant to another researcher in the research group. The degree of autonomy a Scholar will have is dependent on the nature of the research a group undertakes; however, the Scholar's progress will build towards the goal of the Scholar being confident and competent to carry out their own research, and aim to culminate in a presentation at their second Beckman Scholars Research Symposium. (They will attend their first Beckman Scholars Research Symposium as an observer in the first summer.)

During the Spring semester, each Scholar will be encouraged to present a poster on their work at the UT College of Natural Sciences Research Forum during honors week, and to attend and present a poster at a scientific conference such as the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, an ACS national conference, or a conference in their research field. The research work performed by the Scholar will be of a standard that aims towards publishable scientific results by the end of the scholarship period. It is anticipated that the research done by a Beckman Scholar will be suitable for publication.

The Beckman Scholar Research Symposium

Every summer, Beckman Scholars and their faculty mentors from around the country gather at the Beckman Foundation headquarters in Irvine, CA for the Annual Beckman Scholar Symposium which will last for three days. Attendance at this symposium is funded for a Beckman Scholar for both summers during their scholarship period. The first summer, the scholar is simply an observer; in the second summer, the scholar is expected to present their research. This symposium will feature:

  • scientific paper presentations by a selected group of Beckman Scholars
  • poster presentations by all other Beckman Scholars
  • major dinner address by an internationally prominent scientific figure
  • keynote presentations by leading scientists from industry, academia, and national government laboratories
  • memorabilia and reflections about Dr and Mrs Arnold Beckman

The Undergraduate Research Focus Group

The Beckman Scholars program is not simply a source of money, or it would simply be called a scholarship. The Beckman foundation created this program to provide a sustained, in-depth, faculty-mentored undergraduate research experience for the nation's most talented and most gifted undergraduates -- people who have the potential to acheive distinction in their academic fields as well as become outstanding leaders in their careers and professions.

In addition to each Scholar participating in their own research group's meeting, the Beckman Scholars will join the Undergraduate Research Focus group run by the Beckman Scholar Director within the Chemistry and Biochemistry department. In addition to the Beckman Scholars, membership of this group is open to any undergraduate performing research within our department. The group meets weekly, and includes a period of time for informal discussion between the members on their research work, announcements of upcoming items of interest and a period of time for an organized presentation.

Items of interest may include call for submission for other scholarships, opportunities to present research at conferences, visits by scouts for graduate schools, departmental seminars, etc. Organized presentations are by members of the group presenting their own research work, or by departmental staff and faculty members speaking on topics useful to young scientists, such as use of the chemistry library, scientific writing, scientific presentations, use of computers, web authoring, career choices, graduate schools. Other gatherings that may be of interest to the Beckman Scholar group, include seminars organized by the American Chemistry Society Student Affiliate group, Deans Scholars activities, oral presentations from the upper division lab course students, Departmental seminars, etc.

Due to the diverse range of research interests and backgrounds of the members of our group, everyone becomes well practiced in the art of explaining their science in terms understandable by people who aren't specialists in their field. The flip side of this is that you will be exposed to a wide range of research topics from within our department, presented in a forum in which you should feel comfortable asking questions. Above all, the Research Focus group provides a non-threatening environment of like-minded individuals, which allows you the freedom of questioning without seeming foolish, developing confidence in yourself and encouraging each other. In addition to such scholarly pursuits, our group developed into a social group of friends with the shared common interest of excellence in scientific research.

The Beckman Scholars Director

Dr Ruth Shear is the Beckman Scholars Director. She is the focal point for the Beckman Program in the Department, organizing the application process, participating in all interviews as a point of comparison between all applicants, and coordinating and attending the weekly meetings of the Undergraduate Research Focus Group. All questions concerning this program should be directed to her at


Created and maintained by Ruth Shear. Comments to author at
Created Mon Mar 22nd 1999. Last modified Thu, Mar 11, 2010.