The Clemson University Beckman Scholars Program

In 2019, Clemson University was selected by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation as one of 13 institutions in the United States to receive a three-year Beckman Scholars Program Award.

The program offers an intense and prolonged immersion in research to students in six departments under the guidance of one of fifteen faculty mentors in the College of Science and the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

The program will support six exceptional undergraduate researchers over the course of three years, with research beginning in the summers of 2019, 2020 and 2021. Each Scholar receives funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for 15 months of laboratory research (two summers and the intervening academic year).

Each year, we will select one to three Beckman Scholars to begin research in the following summer.

Two Beckman Scholars were selected in 2019: Shaoni Dasgupta, working with Dr. Kerry Smith and Nathan Matzko, working with Dr. Michael Sehorn, both in the department of Genetics and Biochemistry.

Three new Beckman Scholars were selected in 2020 : Luke Broughton, working with Dr. Julia Brumaghim in the department of Chemstry; Lauren Davis, working with Dr. Melinda Harman in the department of Bioengineering; and Hayden Tharpe, working with Dr. Mark Blenner.

One Beckman Scholar was selected in 2021: Arabella Hunter will begin research in May 2021 with Dr. O. Thompson Mefford in the department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Beckman Scholars Program

Scholar Benefits

  • $18,200 student stipend ($6,800 in the first summer, $4,600 over the next Spring and Fall semesters, and $6,800 in the second summer)
  • Additional funds for supplies and travel
  • Support for up to two additional semesters of research
  • Participate in the Annual Beckman Symposium in California in the summers of their award term
  • Invitation to present at the Annual ACC Undergraduate Research Conference
  • Supplemental mentoring in: research bioethics; competing for federal funding; applying for graduate fellowships and awards; and developing skills including networking and communications.

Requirements and Expectations

  • Must engage in faculty-mentored research part-time (ten hours per week) during the academic year and full-time for ten weeks during two consecutive summers
  • Must meet regularly with faculty research mentor
  • Must submit a final report to the Foundation
  • Conduct research suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals, demonstrating the highest levels of research ethics.
  • Develop as leaders and peer role models for other students interested in research careers
  • Required to travel to the Annual Beckman Symposium in California, held in early August of each summer of the award term. Travel arrangements and reimbursements for the Symposium will be handled directly by the Beckman Foundation.

To be eligible to apply, a student must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate in one of these departments:
    • Bioengineering
    • Biological Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    • Genetics and Biochemistry
    • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions
  • Have completed one year (or one semester and a summer) of research, prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester or who are in their second semester of research in Fall 2020.
  • Have and maintain a GPA  ≥ 3.8
  • Display excellence in research, analytical skills, and communications skills.
  • Plan to graduate from Clemson no earlier than December 2022. Preference is given to students that have completed at least 3 semesters at Clemson.
  • Obtain approval from the proposed faculty mentor

Materials needed for the application:

  • Applicant’s curriculum vitae (maximum of 2 single-sided pages)
  • Applicant’s most recent transcripts (may be unofficial; transfer students should send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended)
  • One letter of recommendation from a former or current research mentor (1 page maximum)
  • One more letter of recommendation (1 page maximum)
    • NOTE: The website will request both letters after you enter their names and email addresses.
  • Three short personal statements describing the applicant’s:
    • Previous research experiences (1500 characters limit)
    • Post-graduate education plans (500 characters limit)
    • How being a Beckman Scholar in the preferred lab will contribute to the applicant’s career goals (1000 characters limit)
  • A brief description of your proposed research (6000 characters limit, including citations). This proposal may be developed with a research mentor, but the writing must be by the applicant.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR PREFERRED FACULTY MENTOR TO OBTAIN APPROVAL TO SUBMIT THIS APPLICATION. The selected mentor will submit a statement in support of your application.

  • A mentor may state a willingness to host up to ONE student.
  • A student may submit only ONE APPLICATION this year.
  • A faculty mentor may host no more than ONE Beckman Scholar in the 3-year term of the current Beckman Scholars award.

Selection Process:

Applicants will be evaluated on factors including:

  • Academic excellence
  • Research accomplishments
  • Potential for success in a research career
  • Evidence of independent thinking in research
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  • Applications are accepted beginning on October 1, 2020
  • Applications, including all letters, are due by November 1, 2020
  • Finalists will be contacted by December 2, 2020
  • Finalists will interview with the Selection committee the week of January 11 -15, 2021
  • The interviews may be virtual.
  • The selected Beckman Scholars will be notified by February 1, 2021
  • Scholars will begin research in May 2021 and continue research, funded by the Beckman Foundation, through Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2022
  • Scholars will participate in the annual Beckman Symposium in August 2021 and present their research results at the 2022 Symposium.
  • Scholars may continue supported research for up to two additional semesters (Fall 2022 and Spring 2023)

For more information, please contact:

Clemson University Beckman Scholars Program:
Director, Dr. Barbara Speziale,
Administrative Assistant, Lindsay Hobbs,
Any of the fifteen faculty mentors