College Receives Beckman Grant for Independent Research

Amherst College’s life sciences departments, after receiving a substantial research grant, plan to select students for participation in an independent research program.

The college received the grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which honors the legacy of the late Dr. Arnold Beckman, a chemist and philanthropist.

12 other colleges around the nation, including Barnard College, Boston College, the College of William and Mary and Texas A&M University, were also selected to receive a portion of the $1.5 million grant.

Amherst College received $104,000 in total, which will go toward creating its own chapter of the Beckman Scholars Program.

The Beckman Scholars will be chosen from the class of 2019 and will receive $20,000 in total research and travel stipends to conduct an independent research project over the course of the summer prior to their senior year, during their senior year and the summer after graduation.

Eight professors — Anthony Bishop, Ashley Carter, Sheila Jaswal, Helen Leung and Mark Marshall from the chemistry and biochemistry-biophysics departments, Jill Miller and Michael Hood from the biology department and Joe Trapani from the neuroscience department — will mentor the Beckman researchers.

Bishop, a former mentor to a Beckman Scholar, was selected as the principal investigator of the grant. As principal investigator, he will serve as the head faculty member involved in the preparation and administration of the research conducted.

Bishop said that he appreciated the Beckman Scholars’ dedication to funding student research that extends past graduation.

“One of the major challenges of carrying out research with undergraduates is how quickly accomplished researchers graduate and leave the lab,” said Bishop.

“Support for research after a student’s thesis is completed can be critical for taking the research project to the level of completion necessary for publication and/or presentation at scientific conferences,” Bishop added.

According to Bishop, the college plans to release a public statement in April after finalizing the selection of students for the program.