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Beckman Scholars Program

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In 2020, West Virginia University was one of 12 institutions nationwide to receive funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to establish a Beckman Scholars Program at WVU.

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What is the Beckman Scholars Program at WVU?


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The Beckman Scholars Program provides in-depth, sustained undergraduate research experiences for exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students. Beckman Scholars perform research activities part-time (ten hours per week) during one academic year, and full-time over two consecutive summers (ten 40-hour weeks each summer).

Beckman Scholars must commit to the 15-month contiguous program and must intend to research with one of the 13 approved Faculty Mentors.

The Program provides $26,000 of financial support for the Beckman Scholar and mentor ( Beckman Scholar: $18,200 stipend, $2,800 supply/travel; mentor: $5,000 stipend).

In addition, the Beckman Scholars Program is looking for exceptionally talented undergraduates with current and sustained interest in research who (i) plan to earn advanced degrees (PhD, MD, MD/PhD), (ii) will contribute and lead in scientific research and innovation and (iii) will train the next generation of scientists. 

Summer 2020 Beckman Scholar Program Dates: Anticipated as May 18-July 24, 2020 



What are the responsibilities of a Beckman Scholar?

  • Engage in research during the 15-month contiguous program;
  • Maintain strong academic record for award duration (min. 3.5 GPA);
  • Engage in periodic mentoring and leadership development activities;
  • Meet with UGR program administrators twice per semester/summer;
  • Communicate research at discipline-specific conferences and/or via peer-reviewed publications;
  • Be leaders in WVU's undergraduate research community;
  • Provide written proof of research progress at the end of each semester or summer;
  • If invited, attend the annual Beckman Symposium; and
  • Complete Beckman Scholar reporting requirements (e.g., Scholar Headshot, Scholar Research Project Summary, Scholar Mentorship Plan, etc.) as informed by UGR.

Who should apply?

  • full-time undergraduate students in good academic standing (min. 3.5 GPA) at time of application and for award duration; 
  • students in their freshmen, sophomore, or junior years; 
  • students intending to pursue advanced science degrees (PhD, MD, or MD/PhD) or other scientific pursuits;
  • citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions; 
  • students majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, chemical or biomedical engineering, or medical sciences; 
  • students intending to pursue an independent research project under the auspices of an approved Beckman Faculty Mentor; 
  • students who possess strong oral and written communication skills, and demonstrated leadership and research experience; 
  • students who exhibit indications that they will contribute to the scientific research community within their discipline and beyond over an extended career

How Do I Apply?

Application Deadline: Priority deadline is March 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Review of completed applications, which includes two faculty endorsement/rec letters, will begin after March 2, 2020. However, the application portal will remain open until noon on March 13, 2020.  

Application notes: Students submit applications through WVU Survey Monkey Apply. Students should: 

  1. click on the application link; 
  2. register for an account (unless student already has a WVU Survey Monkey Apply account); 
  3. if needed, send verification link and verify email account; 
  4. skip the eligibility quiz (click continue or put in anything); 
  5. apply by completing all 5 parts of the application. 

Complete applications include 

  • full name and email address of the WVU Beckman Faculty Mentor who has agreed to mentor the applicant in research for the 15-month Beckman Scholars program; 
  • full name and email address of a second faculty member the applicant has asked for endorsement; 
  • electronic copy (pdf) of applicant’s official or unofficial verifiable undergraduate transcripts; 
  • electronic copy (pdf or Word) of applicant’s updated resume/CV; and 
  • a 5-page research project proposal. 

Emails will be sent directly to recommenders requesting submission of letters endorsing you for the Beckman Scholars Program. If your recommenders do not receive an email request, recommenders should check Junk or Clutter folders for the email request. 

Once you click on the "Recommendation Request" box and enter your recommender's information, an email request will be sent automatically to your recommender. If your recommender does not receive the email, ask your recommender to check his/her Junk or Clutter folders for the email request.

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Advice to Student Applicants

Beckman Faculty Mentor:

Upon application, applicants must have already chosen, interacted with and been fostered in preparing the application by the Faculty Mentor.  Beckman Scholars must be mentored by an approved Faculty Mentor from the following list.

Approved Beckman Faculty Include:

Prior to application, applicants should read over Faculty Mentor research descriptions on the web page, interview with top selections, tour research spaces and meet with members of the research group. As needed, the Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) will facilitate this process.

Recommendation/ Endorsement Letters:

Two faculty endorsements (rec letters) are required:

  • one from the requested Beckman Faculty Mentor and
  • one from a second faculty member. 

The letters should address the applicant's potential, ability, and motivation for research. In particular, the Selection Committee is looking for exceptionally talented undergraduates with current and sustained interest in research who plan to earn advanced degrees (PhD, MD, MD/PhD) and contribute to the scientific and research enterprise as both innovators and scientific leaders and who can coherently and enthusiastically discuss, teach, and explain research. In addition, the Committee will look for students who best embody the spirit and legacy of Arnold O. Beckman in terms of integrity, excellence, and grit. 

In summary, the Committee is looking for the nation’s future scientific leaders, who will lead in scientific research and innovation as well as in training the next generation of scientists. Rec letters should be written on official (institutional letterhead), signed and converted to pdf prior to submission by upload. Letter writers may choose to address one or more of the following, the applicant’s

  1. potential, abilities, and motivation for research;
  2. current and sustained interest in research;
  3. promise to contribute to the scientific and research enterprise as both innovator and leader; and
  4. ability to communicate research.

Letters should be uploaded before 11:59 pm on March 2, 2020 for priority application review. However, letters may be uploaded until the portal closes at noon on March 13.

Research Project Proposal (5-pages):

The proposal should explain the applicant’s project in a new/related area of self-directed research and should include an introduction/background highlighting knowledge gaps, the project’s relevance, research questions/hypotheses, and an outline of the expected methodology for answering the research questions. Although each applicant will independently write the research project proposal, the applicant will be mentored in this process by the Faculty Research Mentor. As needed, UGR staff will assist with proposal advice and draft editing. Further details are given below.

The applicant should upload the research project proposal for the research the applicant expects to carry out if names a Beckman Scholar. The proposal should explain the project in a new/related area of self-direct research and should include:

  • Introduction/background highlighting knowledge gaps (i.e., What has been done before? What are the limitations of earlier work?);
  • Project’s relevance (i.e., Why is the research of interest and to whom?);
  • Research questions/hypotheses (i.e., What is the knowledge gap and how will the applicant’s study move the research in this field forward?);
  • Outline of the expected methodology for answering the research questions (e.g., experiments, procedures, techniques, instrumentation to be used to address the research questions);
  • Discussion (e.g., discuss expected results, potential problems, and alternative strategies);
  • Bibliographic information and references (Do not mix formats. Use standard reference formatting for the discipline. Only reference the applicant has read should be cited.)

If research builds on and extends previous research, the applicant may also discuss:

  • Previous or preliminary research results (e.g., relevant data, observations, and findings the applicant has obtained previously and in support of the proposed project);
  • Discussion of results (e.g., What do the results mean? How do they relate to the project's objectives? Did they resolve the problem or lead to other questions?)

The applicant should independently write the research project proposal, although, it is expected that the applicant will be fostered in its preparation by the chosen Beckman Faculty Mentor.

Formatting Guidelines:

Research Project Proposals should be single-spaced, use 11-point Times New Roman font, paginated, and formatted in one column (i.e., not two columns). Margins should be 1-inch on all sides. The Research Project Proposal must not exceed 7 pages with 5 pages maximum reserved for the Research Project Proposal. The first page should be the Title Page and should include the project's title, the applicant's name, the applicant's academic major affiliation (e.g., Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV), the date, and the chosen Beckman Faculty Mentor's name. The last page is reserved for bibliographic information and references.

Graphs, Tables and Figures:

As appropriate, include graphs, tables, and figures to explain and clarify. Consecutively number graphs and figures separately from Tables and include appropriate legends (use 10-point font for legends). Save your proposal as a pdf file and upload the pdf file.

Questions?

Contact undergradresearch@mail.wvu.edu or (304)293-9354