Furman selected to participate in prestigious Beckman Scholars Program

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Noah Vieira, a junior chemistry major at Furman University, was selected last year to receive a $26,000 award to perform research that may improve the process of harvesting solar energy through dye-sensitized solar cells. Photo by Furman University.

Furman University has been selected to participate in the 2018 Beckman Scholar Program.

The program annually provides a select group of colleges and universities with grants to support undergraduate research and training in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and the biological and medical sciences, according to a news release.

Four undergraduate students from Furman’s department of chemistry will split a $104,000 grant over the course of three years. Beginning this year, the selected students will spend two summers and a full academic year working on a research project with a faculty mentor.

Each scholar named by Furman will receive an $18,200 stipend to perform research, plus $2,800 for travel and supplies, according to the release. An additional $5,000 will be distributed to faculty mentors so they can support any other expenses associated with their scholar’s research.

The Beckman Scholars Program is an initiative of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports basic scientific research, primarily in chemistry and life sciences. The foundation annually reviews information about institutions across the country and identifies colleges and universities to receive application invitations.

Invited institutions must demonstrate a significant commitment to undergraduate research in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or another science discipline. They also must demonstrate an ability to compete successfully on a national level for scientific research funds in peer-reviewed government and private foundation-supported programs. The foundation also takes into account the quality of an institution’s faculty mentors, according to the news release.

After reviewing applications, an advisory panel composed of distinguished science faculty assists the Beckman Foundation in selecting 58 finalist institutions, from which 12 grant winners are selected. Furman is one of only a few institutions that have been awarded continuous funding by the foundation since the program’s inception in 1998.

“In the 20 years the Beckman Scholars program has been in existence, the Furman chemistry department has been honored with seven consecutive funding cycles, which speaks to the quality both of our program and of the undergraduate students we attract,” said Paul Wagenknecht, a chemistry professor at Furman. “We are extremely proud of what our Beckman Scholars have accomplished.”

Other institutions participating in the program include Amherst College, Barnard College, Boston College, Case Western Reserve University, the College of William and Mary, Haverford College, Hope College, Texas A&M University, Union College, the University of Arizona, and the University of Idaho.

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