Beckman Scholars Program


The Beckman Scholars Program (BSP) is a highly selective program that provides undergraduates in the fields of biological and chemical sciences the opportunity to conduct independent laboratory research under the mentorship of select University of Rochester faculty over the course of 15 months. The program is administered by the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, and will be guided by three core values: research excellence, mentorship, and inclusion.

Beckman Scholars will benefit from a number of professional development programs and have the opportunity to present their research at the annual Beckman Symposium. Competitive candidates for the Beckman Scholars Program must have demonstrated academic excellence and interest in pursuing advanced research in fields related to biology and/or chemistry. Each year, two Beckman Scholars will be selected and receive $21,000 over 15 months in support of their research projects.  Funds will be allocated as follows: first summer ($6,800), academic year stipend ($4,800), second summer ($6,800), and conference travel ($2,800).

Fast Facts


  • Undergraduate students who are first-years, sophomores, or juniors are eligible.
  • Student must be a biology or chemistry major (or intended major).
  • Applicants must be full-time students and remain in good academic standing.
  • Student must intend to pursue an advanced science degree (PhD, MD, MD/PhD) or other scientific pursuits.
  • Student must be a United States citizen, a permanent resident of the United States or its possessions, or hold DACA recipient status.
  • No previous research experience is necessary.


  • Applications open: December 1, 2023
  • Application deadline: February 9, 2024 at 5 p.m. EST
  • Letters of Recommendation deadline: February 12, 2024
  • Funding decisions announced: March 30

Application process

  • Applications are due by February 9, 2024.
  • Letters of Recommendation are due by February 12, 2024.
  • After initial review, approximately five applicants will be selected for interviews.
  • Applicants will be asked to present a brief (10 minute) presentation on a topic from one of their biology or chemistry courses, and to explain the topic in a way that would be understandable to one of their family members (i.e., a non-scientist).
  • After interviews, two scholars will be selected.

Application Components

  • Student information: Contains basic information about the student (class year, major or intended major, contact information) and eligibility checklist.
  • Mentor choices: Read through the research interests of the 15 Beckman mentors. Of these, choose three potential mentors. The application form will ask you to indicate your top choice. You do not need to make contact with your potential mentors prior to applying. If you already work with your potential mentor, please note this in your application. Applicants with or without a relationship with their indicated potential mentors will be weighted equally.
  • Student resume/CV: No more than two pages, in a .pdf format.
  • Unofficial transcript.
  • Letter of reference: One letter (and only one letter) of reference must be included in the application. This can be from anyone who knows you and can speak to your potential as a scientific researcher. Examples of letter-writers include faculty, coaches, and work supervisors. Recommendation letters (1-2 pp.) should provide substantive answers to the following questions. The deadline for letters of recommendation is 5:00 p.m. on February 12, 2024.
    • In what capacity do you know the applicant?
    • How has the applicant demonstrated academic excellence?
    • How has the applicant demonstrated an interest in pursuing advanced research in fields of related to biology and/or chemistry?
    • How will the applicant benefit from and contribute to the Beckman Scholars program?
    • What other character traits does the applicant have that makes him/her/them a strong candidate for the Beckman program?
  • Personal statement: In two pages or less, answer the question: "In what way will you benefit from and contribute to the University of Rochester Beckman Science Program’s core values of inclusion, mentoring, and research excellence?"

Application Evaluation

A panel of Beckman Science Program mentors will evaluate application packages and interview presentations.


List of participating UR Beckman Scholar Mentors

Below is a list of the 2024 University of Rochester biology and chemistry faculty members from which students may choose to work with as a potential Beckman Scholar:

  • Kara Bren (Lab / Contact) - bioinorganic research group investigating metalloprotein structure and function, and engineering biocatalysts for applications in energy conversion
  • Jenn Brisson (Lab / Contact) - evolution and development of morphology using a variety of approaches including genetics, genomics, and developmental biology
  • Nancy Chen (Lab / Overview) - evolutionary processes that shape patterns of genetic variation over contemporary timescales
  • Ignacio Franco (Lab / Contact) - theory and computation as it applies to dynamical processes occurring in molecules, nanoscale and extended systems
  • Dragony Fu (Lab / Contact) - elucidate the biological roles of RNA modification enzymes
  • Sina Ghaemmaghami (Lab / Contact) - mass spectrometry-based proteomics to investigate cellular processes related to protein homeostasis
  • Kathryn Knowles (Lab / Contact) - studying the fundamental properties of nanoscale materials in both their ground and photoexcited states
  • Amanda Larracuente (Lab / Contact) - evolution of selfish DNA using genomic, population genetic, molecular and cytological methods
  • Ellen Matson (Lab / Contact) - a team of chemists interested in synthetic inorganic chemistry, specifically the application of first-row transition metal complexes in an effort to solve a variety of industrial, environmental and biological problems
  • David McCamant (Lab / Contact) - developing new ultrafast vibrational techniques to study nuclear geometry changes during ultrafast photochemical reactions
  • Anne Meyer (Lab / Contact) - understanding and manipulating the conserved pathways used by organisms to defend themselves against damaging environmental agents
  • Shauna Paradine (Lab / Contact) - a group of chemists who are using transition metal catalysis of C-C bond forming transformations for the efficient and versatile synthesis of stereochemically complex organic molecular scaffolds
  • J. Albert Uy (Lab / Contact) - explores the origin of biological species, using tropical birds as the primary study organism
  • Michael Welte (Lab / Contact) - studies the molecular mechanisms and biological roles of two types of trafficking events: the exchange of proteins between lipid droplets, cytoplasmic fat storage organelles, and the nucleus, as well as the motor-powered transport of various cargoes along microtubules