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Beckman Scholars Program

Overview and Introduction

The U-M Beckman Scholars Program is a 15-month mentored research experience for exceptional transfer students who intend to graduate with honors in Chemistry or Biology. We are looking for students who intend to pursue graduate studies and a research career in one of these fields or biomedical sciences. Beckman Scholars will be matched with top faculty researchers in Chemistry or Biology and will receive $21,000 to support their research over two summers plus one academic year (fall and winter semesters). Scholars will participate in supplemental professional development opportunities and receive one-on-one coaching to support their applications to graduate programs and major funding opportunities such as the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation.

Application Deadlines

  • Applications Open:  Final Monday of January (1/30/23)

  • Application Deadline: Last Monday in February (2/27/23).

  • Selection Notification: mid-March.

Eligibility

Eligibility:

  • Transfer Student Status: A transfer student is defined as one who began their undergraduate career as a degree-seeking student at another 2-year or 4-year institution. Students who took dual enrollment or non-degree courses in high school do not qualify as transfer-status for the purpose of this scholarship.

  • Citizenship: US citizenship or permanent resident status is an eligibility requirement for our funding source for this program, the Beckman Foundation.

  • Intended Graduation Date: Scholars must be able to commit to the full 15-month experience, including two full-time summers of research at U-M. Applicants must plan to graduate no sooner than December 2024.

  • Intended Major: As a condition of the scholarship, scholars must graduate with honors from one of the majors offered by Chemistry or Program in Biology. (These include Chemistry; Biochemistry; Biomolecular Science; Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences; Biology; Biology, Health, and Society; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science; Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity; Microbiology; Plant Biology; or Neuroscience.) To graduate with honors, a scholar must complete an approved senior thesis in one of these majors. Scholars do not need to be current members of the LSA Honors Program to apply. You will join the Honors Program by declaring an honors major in your department as part of the Beckman Scholars Program.

  • Research Career: Scholars must have a good faith intention to apply to a PhD program or MD-PhD program in chemistry, biology, or biomedical sciences and pursue a research career in academia, industry, or government labs such as the NIH, CDC, etc.

Application Instructions

Application Instructions:

  • Advising: Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to set up an advising appointment with Henry Dyson in ONSF to discuss their interest in the program.

  • Create Your Application: Please open the Beckman Scholars Application to begin. You can return to this application at any time by clicking on this same link.

  • Recommenders: Your first task will be to select at least one and no more than two faculty recommenders. The letters should come from faculty research mentors and/or instructors of STEM courses. Letter writers can be from U-M, from your previous institution, or from external STEM research opportunities. Instructors or mentors from non-STEM courses or research experiences are not preferred, but will be accepted. The recommendations should speak to your ability to flourish in a 15-month research experience at U-M and potential for the career aspirations discussed in this application. If you have questions about potential letter writers, please reach out to onsf.info@umich.edu to request an appointment. You should discuss the letter ahead of time with your potential recommender, either by email or in person. Once they have agreed to write, go to your Beckman Scholars Application, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the contact information for your recommenders. This will send them an automated email inviting them to upload their letters. You can then save a draft of your application to return later. Ideally, you should request letters at least three weeks before the deadline. So, as soon as you’ve decided to apply, ask for the letters and then work on the application itself.

  • Application Questions: The Beckman Scholars application contains several short essay questions regarding your future career goals and specific interest in the program. You should plan to discuss these with Henry Dyson or with a trusted mentor. You are not expected to have concrete and specific plans at this point. A benefit of the application process, and ultimately the Beckman Scholars Program itself, is the opportunity to explore and develop your plans for the future.

  • Potential Research Mentors: As part of the application, you will be asked to identify three potential research mentors with whom you’d like to work. A list of potential Beckman Scholars Faculty Mentors can be found below. You should spend some time looking through the biographies and research interests of these faculty members on the ChemistryEEB, and MCDB Departmental websites as well as their individual lab websites.

Beckman Scholars Faculty Mentors: Bart Bartlett (Chem), Ken Cadigan (MCDB), Matthew Chapman (MCDB), Vincent Denef (EEB), Ursula Jakob (MCDB), Tim James (EEB), Adam Matzger (Chem), Anne McNeil (Chem), Ann Miller (MCDB), Melanie Sanford (C), Nathaniel Szymczak (Chem), Patricia Wittkopp (EEB), John Wolfe (Chem).

  • Resume and Transcripts: To complete the application, you will need to upload PDFs of your resume, UM transcript, and transcripts from your previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Your resume should highlight any previous research experience, as well as other curricular and co-curricular activities.

  • Submitting Your Application: When you have completed all the questions and uploaded your documents, scroll to the bottom of the application and hit Submit. This will lock your application. However, you do not need to wait for your recommenders to submit their letters before submitting. You must submit your application by 12 noon on the final Monday of February (2/27). Late applications will not be accepted. However, we will continue to accept letters after the deadline. As long as you’ve submitted your application on time, it will be considered even if a letter writer fails to submit before the deadline.

  • Interviews: The final step in the application is a brief interview with a committee composed of a few  faculty mentors from our list. You’ll be asked to discuss your future research plans, any previous research experience, your interest in the program, and your reasons for selecting the specific research mentors named in your application. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive more specific information and advice from Henry Dyson.

This application process has been designed not only to provide the selection committee with the information they need to select out Beckman Scholars, but also to help you reflect upon your future research goals. If at any time you have questions, please reach out to onsf.info@umich.edu for guidance.