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Beckman Scholars

Since 1997 the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation has provided funding to colleges and universities to support the highest level of undergraduate student research. Each year, the foundation invites more than 150 universities to apply to the Beckman Scholars program, and selects only nine to 15 proposals to fund.

Richmond received its first Beckman Scholars grant in 2006, and was selected again in 2009, in 2013, 2016 and 2020 ($18,200 for two summers and one academic year). As described on the Beckman website, each of these grants is intended to “provide scholarships that contribute significantly in advancing the education, research training and personal development of selected students in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences. The sustained, in-depth undergraduate research experiences and comprehensive faculty mentoring are unique in terms of program scope, content and level of scholarship awards ($19,300 for two summers and one academic year).” Beckman Scholars present their research at the Beckman Scholars conference at the end of their second year.  

Students who are chosen to represent Richmond as Beckman Scholars are exceptional. The Beckman Foundation outlines specific characteristics that institutions should consider when selecting scholars. Scholars should have already demonstrated a commitment to research, have strong academic records and have seriously considered their career trajectory. Scholars are typically selected during their junior year, have demonstrated leadership qualities and superior communication skills during their tenure at Richmond and are already preparing for advanced study at the graduate level.

University of Richmond Beckman Scholars


Julia Vidlak
Mentor: Miles Johnson
Vidlak's research is focused on the synthesis of new catalysts for catalytic cross-coupling reactions that are needed for the efficient and selective synthesis of pharmaceuticals.


Najwa Labban
Mentor: Julie Pollock and Michael Leopold
Labban’s research focused on the incorporation of enzymes into biosensor schemes for the detection of abnormal concentrations of biomolecules in diseases such as prostate cancer, galactosemia, and sepsis.
Post-graduation activity: MD-PhD program at the University of Virginia


Arjun Jaini
Mentor: Carol Parish and Michael Leopold
Arjun’s research focused on the computational and experimental design of halogen-based sensors. He also worked on understanding the aggregation behavior of asphaltenes and tautomerization of enediynes.
Post-graduation activity: PhD program in Materials Chemistry at Yale University


Hannah Small
Mentor: Linda Boland
Small’s research focused on how different potassium ion channels regulate action potential firing and investigated metabolic regulation of cellular excitability.
Post-graduation activity: Research Assistant, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Dept., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Pannell
Mentor: Michael Leopold
Pannell's research focused on the use of nanoparticle networks as functional components of amperiometric biosensors designed for the detection of clinically relevant targets.
Post-graduaction activity: Post-Baccalaureate Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Adam Luxon
Mentor: Carol Parish
Adam’s research involved understanding the singlet and triplet cyclization pathways for enediynes as well as the aggregation behavior of asphaltenes.
Post-graduation activity: PhD program in Chemical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

Scott Yeudall
Mentor: John Gupton
Scott Yeudall’s research focused on developing new organic chemical reactions to synthesize Lycogarubin C, which is an important and novel antitumor agent
Post-graduation activity: MD-PhD program at the University of Virginia


Tyler Heist
Mentor: Malcolm Hill
Heist's research involved Investigating Intracellular Symbiont Dynamics in Sponge:Symbiodinium Relationships.
Post-graduation activity: Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB) graduate program at Princeton University


Caroline Braun
Mentor: Kristine Nolin
Braun's thesis focused on Addition Reactions of Electron-Deficient Cyclopropanes Catalyzed by Calcium(II) Complexes.
Post-graduation activity: Ph.D. in chemistry at Vanderbilt University


Emily McFadden
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Michelle Hamm
McFadden studied the mutagenic potential of the damaged deoxynucleotide 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine with different DNA polymerases.


Sarah Rhoads
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Lisa Gentile
Rhoads worked on a project geared at understanding the regulation of ionotropic glutamate receptors.
Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School

Ian Winters
Beckman Mentor: Dr. April Hill
Winters' research focused on developing an RNA interference methodology for the knockdown of gene expression in sponges.
Post-graduation activity: Stanford University School of Medicine Biosciences PhD Program in Genetics


Sally Fisher
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Carol Parish
Fisher's research focused on Dynamics and folding pathways of the tetratricopeptide repeat region in the cargo binding domain of Kinesin motor proteins.
Read more about Sally in our newsroom.

Andrew Massaro
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Malcolm Hill
Massaro's research focused on Trophic status of tropical marine sponges: the effects of symbiosis and temperature on feeding behavior.
Post-graduation activity: Studies at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine


Ben Giglio
Beckman Mentor: Dr. John Gupton
Giglio's research focused on the Application of Vinylogous Iminium Salts to the Synthesis of Biologically Active, Marine Natural Products of the Lamellarin.
Post-graduation activity: Studies University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry


Kathryn L. Holstien
Beckman Mentor: Dr. April Hill
Holstien's research focused on the Unexpected Diversity of T-box Transcription Factors in Porifera.
Post-graduation activity: Studies in developmental biology at Baylor University

Evan B. Wang
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Carol Parish
Wang's research focused on the Conformational Analysis of Trans-fused Ether Rings in Brevetoxin A.
Post-graduation activity: University of California at Berkeley to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry


Robert W. Contino
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Craig Kinsley
Contino's research focused on the effect of Maternal Reproductive Experience on Cytochrome c Oxidase mRNA Concentration in the Rat Brain.
Post-graduation activity: Emory University Medical School

Sarah M. Remmert
Beckman Mentor: Dr. Carol Parish
Remmert's reserch focused on the Spin-Flip Studies of Diradicals.
Post-graduation activity: Studies at Oxford University on a Clarendon Scholarship

Beckman Mentors

Dr. Jory Brinkerhoff, Biology
Dr. Kelling Donald, Chemistry
Dr. Wade Downey, Chemistry
Dr. Kristine Grayson, Biology
Dr. Miles Johnson, Chemistry
Dr. Michael Leopold, Chemistry
Dr. Carol Parish, Chemistry
Dr. Julie Pollock, Chemistry
Dr. Isaac Skromne, Biology
Dr. Dominque Williams, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology