Michigan State University has been selected as a host institution for the 2014 Beckman Scholars Program (BSP), the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation recently announced.
The BSP, established in 1997, is an invited program for accredited universities and four-year colleges in the United States. It provides scholarships that contribute significantly to advancing the education, research training and personal development of select students in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences.

“The Beckman scholarships will allow these cream-of-the-crop students to work in the lab of their choice, alongside a mentor,” said Laura McCabe, director of the MSU Beckman Scholars Program, professor of physiology in CNS, and professor of radiology in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). “The ultimate goal is to train them to be highly competent in research.

“We’re capitalizing on the interdisciplinary nature of research here at MSU,” she added. “Being exposed to researchers from different disciplines interacting with each other will help the students think more broadly and incorporate new ways of understanding things.”

The scholars will also attend special seminars and meetings. A mock scientific meeting will provide training for presenting research findings.

All of these experiences will set them apart from other students and make them strong candidates for graduate and professional programs.

“We are delighted that the Beckman Foundation selected Michigan State as one of the host institutions for this prestigious scholarship program,” said Mark Voit, associate dean for undergraduate studies in MSU’s College of Natural Science (CNS). “Only 12 institutions are selected each year, so it’s an honor that reflects very favorably on the caliber of life-science research at MSU, the quality of our undergraduate students and our college’s commitment to supporting undergraduate research.”

MSU will receive $115,800 in funding over three years for six students total. High-achieving students will be invited to apply for the scholarship at the end of their sophomore year. Three students will be selected to begin the program this summer, with a second cohort to follow next summer.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for MSU and we are truly honored to be chosen for this prestigious program,” said Douglas Estry, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies at MSU. “The Beckman scholarships provide an excellent opportunity for our high-performing undergraduate students to pursue important research work in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences.”

The goal of the MSU BSP is to provide scholars with one-on-one mentored interactions combined with an intensive interdisciplinary research experience. Each scholar will choose his or her mentor—a researcher who is actively involved with a team of scientists focusing on one of four areas of study: molecular metabolism and disease; neuroscience; evolution and big data sets; or the intestinal microbiome and its role in health and diseases. More than 11 faculty members will be involved.

In addition to CNS and COM, the Honors College and Lyman Briggs are also program partners.

The complete list of 2014 BSP host institutions can be found on the Beckman Foundation website.