California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Receives One of Nine National Beckman Foundation Scholars Program Awards

Published: May 15, 2009

Cal State Long Beach is one of nine U.S. colleges and universities to be named a 2009 Beckman Scholars Program recipient by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

This is CSULB’s fourth Beckman award, this time for $96,500 that will provide five undergraduate students in the Departments of Biological Sciences or Chemistry and Biochemistry with three-year scholarships. Students can apply for the funding that will cover two summers of study and the intervening academic year. CSULB received its first award in 1999.

The goal of CSULB’s Beckman Scholars Program is to advance the students’ education, research training and personal development and is aimed at students who have the potential to achieve distinction in their academic field as well as become outstanding leaders in their professions.

The students will work in the labs of faculty mentors and receive academic and career advising as well as assistance in applying for graduate or professional schools for doctoral or medical degrees. Their scholarships provide stipends and funds for laboratory supplies and for travel to scientific meetings where they present their research findings. They also participate in the Annual Beckman Scholars Symposium in Irvine.

Among CSULB’s past Beckman Scholars are brothers Eric and Michael Sundberg, who are studying at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Currently, I’m a second-year medical student at Stanford, interested in primary care and international medicine,” said Michael, a 2007 alumnus, while Eric, who graduated in 2004, is now a medical intern.

Another scholar, Casandra Cox, is working on her Ph.D. in physical chemistry at MIT. “The Beckman Scholars program initiated my passion for doing scientific research and is one of the main reasons I ended up going to MIT for graduate school,” said Cox, who is working in Dr. Dan Nocera’s research group. “My research is focused on understanding the chemistry behind the photochemical splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen so that we can use them as fuel.”

“The fact that we have been granted the Beckman Scholars Program award for the fourth time reflects our strong commitment to undergraduate research at CSULB,” said Provost Karen L. Gould. “I would like to thank Dr. Brian Livingston and Dr. Jeff Cohlberg for their outstanding efforts to secure this prestigious award, which enables our students to conduct research alongside faculty mentors and become better prepared to pursue postgraduate degrees.”

“The Beckman Scholars Program awards are very prestigious,” said Laura Kingsford, dean of CSULB’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “The fact that this is our fourth sequential award is very gratifying and exciting. I think it is really our students who are the selling point for us in being successful in the application process. We have to include information about current and past Beckman Scholars in the application. The fact that these scholars are publishing in top-notch journals with their faculty mentors, presenting their work at national/international professional meetings, and getting into schools like Stanford and other R-1 research institutions for M.D. and Ph.D. programs indicates the quality of our students.

“This Beckman Scholars Program award is a clear indication that CSULB is recognized as having undergraduate research programs that are distinctive, of exceptional quality, and attract highly talented students,” Kingsford added. “The Beckman Foundation is looking for scholars who have the potential to become outstanding leaders in their ultimate science-related careers and professions. I think we have produced many of these future leaders and are proud to be a part of the Beckman Scholars Program.”