The Beckman Scholars Program is a unique opportunity for exceptional transfer students. This 15-month mentored research program looks for students who intend to pursue graduate studies in Chemistry, Biology, or biomedical sciences. Beckman Scholars are matched with top faculty researchers and will receive $21,000 to support their research over two summers plus one academic year. Adam Jackiw and Chaitra Moolaveesala are this year’s Beckman Scholars!
Adam is a junior studying biochemistry. He will be working with Prof. Ursula Jakob studying aging and lifespan.
Adam describes the Beckman Scholars Program as a fantastic guided introduction to a career in research, and a great opportunity to pick up both the hard skills of scientific inquiry and the softer knowledge of how to navigate academia. His goal is to contribute to research in brain chemistry and therapeutic brain implantation. He hopes to achieve that combination of hands-on care and novel research by pursuing an MD-PhD in the future.
When asked if he had any advice for future applicants, Adam stated, “The application interview itself was extremely educational. Walking in, I was prepared for a hardball interview. Instead I found a panel of experts at the top of their fields genuinely trying to understand my interests, and how those interests related to theirs and their colleagues. Walking out, I felt that I had a better understanding of the practical path forward towards my own goals.”
Chaitra is a junior studying Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology. As a part of the UROP Changing Gears program, she worked closely with a PhD student in Dr. Harry Mobley’s lab studying genetic conservation of the Proteus mirabilis urease promoter. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in a sub-discipline of biology such as genetics or microbiology.
As a transfer student with limited research experience, Chaitra is excited at the prospect of working with a U-M faculty researcher to further her knowledge and skills in biology research. She will be working in Dr. Matthew Chapman’s lab. Her future goal is work in industry research, and she hopes her experience as a Beckman Scholar will help her develop laboratory skills and decide which field of biology she would like to pursue a PhD in.
When asked why she applied, Chaitra stated, “I applied for the Beckman Scholars Program because it was the perfect opportunity for me to achieve my academic and future career aspirations. Especially because this program was looking for transfer students, I felt compelled to take advantage of this chance and apply.” She believes that transfer students should take the leap to apply for opportunities even if they aren’t sure they’ll get them.
The application and interview process allowed her to gain more confidence in her skills and abilities. She notes that, “As a transfer student in my first year, I have grappled with feelings of imposterism. One thing I would like to convey to future applicants is to just be genuine in showing the selection committee who you are and what your goals are. I opened up about my personal struggles, but also about how I have overcome those challenges and that has made me the person I am today. I also made sure to convey my genuine enthusiasm for biology and my interest in research.”