UW Oshkosh has been chosen as one of 14 higher education institutions nationwide, and the only in Wisconsin to receive a prestigious Beckman Scholars Award supporting undergraduate research.
The award’s $156,000 will support six scholar-mentor pairs in chemistry and the life sciences. Two scholars will be named per year for the three-year award term.
“Undergraduate research and faculty research mentorships supercharge students’ learning and growth like few other things at UWO,” UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said. “The Beckman Scholars award is an exciting and welcome investment in our efforts, and I am grateful to the faculty and sponsored programs colleagues who helped earn this support and the spotlight that comes with it.”
Funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Beckman Scholars Program embodies the Foundation’s mission “to support young scientists today for tomorrow’s breakthrough discoveries.” The Foundation was established in 1977 by 20th century scientific instrumentation pioneer Arnold Beckman and is located in Irving, California. It supports U.S. institutions and young scientists whose creative, high-risk, and interdisciplinary research will lead to innovations and new tools and methods for scientific discovery, according to the Foundation.
Cordelia Bowlus, director of the McNair Scholars program at UWO, sees the Beckman Scholars Program as a beautiful complement to existing undergraduate research opportunities.
“The Beckman Scholars Program offers undergraduates the opportunity to conduct research alongside a faculty mentor,” Bowlus said. “What is unique about this program is that it supports scholars with a generous stipend over 15 consecutive months. This sustained support allows for an in-depth research experience under the mentorship of UWO’s esteemed faculty.”
Each Beckman Scholar receives an $18,200 stipend over the course of the program. Scholars work 40 hours per week for two summers and 10 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. There are additional funds provided for research supplies and conference travel.
“Undergraduate research is a key part of a science education, but scheduling and financial concerns can make it inaccessible,” said Robert Mitchell, UWO professor of biology. “The Beckman Scholars Program will relieve those barriers for our highest achieving students, as well as help push the standard for undergraduate support at UWO.”
Mitchell is one of nine UWO faculty members whose outstanding research, experience mentoring, and publication records made it possible for UWO to secure the Beckman Scholars Award.
The additional, approved Beckman faculty mentors are Kevin Crawford, Jonathan Gutow, Brant Kedrowski, and Lauren Waters in the chemistry department; Shelly Michalski, Mitchell, Sabrina Mueller-Spitz and Robert Stelzer in biology; and Greg Kleinheinz in Engineering & Engineering Technology.
Any one of the mentors may take on a Beckman Scholar, ensuring that each has the support they need to develop foundational knowledge and engage in scholarly research and innovation.
Bowlus, who with Esther Eke, director of UWO’s office of sponsored programs, collaborated with faculty to secure the Beckman Scholars Award, believes collaborations like this support a UWO vision to become research enhanced.
“We are passionate about providing students with opportunities to engage in their learning through scholarly activities,” Bowlus said, “And we are grateful for the institutional support we received to pursue the Beckman Scholars Program.”
Students interested in learning more about Beckman Scholars Program may reach out to Bowlus at email@example.com