Arnold and Mable Beckman Scholars Award

Application Deadline: Wednesday, February 21 at 5:00pm
Campus Interview: Late February/early March

If you are interested in applying for the Beckman Scholars Program, please be in touch with your faculty research mentor as soon as possible.  You should also contact Dr. Ramus, Director of the Beckman Scholars Program (  Dr. Ramus is available to help you through the application process.

Description. The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program is "to help stimulate, encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented undergraduate students … who ultimately will become prominent leaders in their scientific and professional pursuits.  The research activities are to be centered in chemistry, biochemistry, the biological and medical sciences or some interdisciplinary combination of these subjects.  The Beckman Scholars Program is a merit-based program; issues of gender, race and financial need should not be considered contributing factors in the application process.” 

Benefits. Scholars will receive support for two summers and one academic year:

  • $6,800 per summer
  • $4,600 academic year
  • $2,800 student scientific supply and travel
  • Travel and lodging for required attendance at Annual Beckman Symposium

Eligibility. The Bowdoin College Beckman Scholars Program is open to juniors and exceptional sophomores. 

Scholars must be US Citizens or permanent residents, and work with one of the following Bowdoin College Beckman Faculty Mentors: 

  • Jack Bateman
  • Patsy Dickinson
  • Danielle Dube
  • Hadley Horch
  • William Jackman
  • Barry Logan
  • Erika Nyhus
  • Elizabeth Stemmler
  • Kana Takematsu
  • Dharni Vasudevan

How to Apply. Applications are due to Dr. Ramus ( by the application deadline (listed above).

Application materials include:

  • a personal statement describing how the Beckman Scholars Program will benefit your future plans
  • a written proposal that outlines your planned research project, written in consultation with your Faculty Mentor
  • an independently-written short research proposal addressing a significant scientific issue or problem that is of particular interest to you. It may, for example, be a problem or question that has arisen in the course of your classroom or laboratory work.  Your proposal should:
    • be written as a research proposal, including background, the question you are addressing and the hypothesis you are proposing to test, the experiments (including controls) needed to test the hypothesis, and the ways in which you would interpret the predicted experimental data. This should be written only by you (without any help from your Faculty Mentor). You may seek advice or editing from Dr. Ramus.
    • be no more than two pages, single-spaced, with a minimum font size of 11 (Times) or 10 (Arial)
    • include references and figures
  • a copy of your transcript(s)
  • 2 letters of recommendation from:
    • your faculty mentor
    • someone who can speak both to your potential and to the potential of your project

In addition, applicants will be given a 30-minute interview toward the end of February or beginning of March to discuss educational and professional goals, research interests and motivations, as well as the planned research and independent proposals. 


First Summer

1. Foundational Elements

    • Instruction on how to search scientific literature databases (Librarian)
    • Laboratory safety training (Science Center)
    • Scientific record-keeping training (Mentors)
    • Training in data plotting, statistical analysis and presentation (Mentors)
    • Discussion of scientific ethics (research group or department’s honors research course)
    • Develop a plan for post-graduate study

2. Experiences

    • Lead a laboratory group discussion
    • Select a speaker to visit Bowdoin College 
    • Identify a national meeting to attend
    • Constitute an Advisory Committee (2 mentors and Director) and meet with them at the end of the summer (and during academic year)
    • Present at the President’s Science Symposium at Bowdoin
    • Attend the Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science and Engineering in Irvine, California

Academic Year

  • Research (honors if seniors)
  • Attend departmental talks
  • Host invited speaker, including preparing other students for student discussion
  • Attend conference/present work
  • Continue to develop post-graduate plan with Mentor and Advisory Committee
  • Grant-writing/fellowship workshop (HPA Director and Office of Student Fellowships and Research)

Final Summer (Leadership)

  • Continue with research, assuming a leadership role within Mentors' laboratories
  • Peer Research Mentor Training, (QR)
  • "Beckman Scholar Lecture," first summer research talk
  • Attend the Annual Research Symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science and Engineering in Irvine, California

Current Beckman scholars:

Sara Spicer ’18, neuroscience major.

Grace McKenzie-Smith ’17, biology and physics major, Latin minor.

Read about their stories here!

Past Bowdoin Beckman Scholars:

Meaghan Kennedy ’06, MD, Dartmouth Medical School (2013), maternal and child health MPH, Boston University School of Public Health (2009). Currently a physician at Concord Hospital.

Rebecca Selden ’06, PhD, ecology, evolution, and marine biology, University of California, Santa Barbara (2015). Current National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow at Rutgers University.

Chris Cashman ’07, MD-PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (expected completion, 2018).

Sam Minot ’08, PhD, cell and molecular biology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2012). Currently a principal scientist at One Codex.

Molly Kwiatkowski ’11, MD/PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego (expected completion, 2021).

Scott Longwell ’12, bioengineering PhD candidate, Stanford University.

Alex Williams ’12, neuroscience PhD candidate, Stanford University.

Ketura “Kacey” Berry ’13, completed a two-year Fulbright research appointment at Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany. Will be attending medical school next year.

Ian Kline ’15, MD candidate at New York University School of Medicine. Former Fulbright scholar at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat in Germany. Read about Kline’s research at Bowdoin.

Hal Miller ’16, MS in science and religion, enrolled at University of Edinburgh with plans to pursue a PhD in analytical chemistry. Read about Miller’s Keasbey fellowship.