Beckman Scholars Program

Northwestern is one of 11 universities named in 2017 that offers the Beckman Scholars Program. Beckman Scholars conduct laboratory research for two summers and one academic year (15 consecutive months). Students receive stipends of $6,800 each summer and $4,600 for the academic year. A total of six Scholars will be supported in 2017-2020.


"The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation established by Dr. and Mrs. Beckman in 1977. The mission of the foundation is to make grants to non-profit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science."



Application deadline is Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 11:59pm.


Beckman Scholars must:

  1. Be a full time student throughout the duration of the award
  2. Maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA
  3. Hold a desire to pursue a PhD, MD, MD/PhD, or other scientific career
  4. Be involved in one of the 13 Beckman Mentor labs (list below)

The Beckman Foundation stipulates a few eligibility criteria outside of those related to mentor selection.

  1. Scholars must be US citizens or permanent residents.
  2. As of the application deadline, first/second/third year students are eligible. The basic criteria is that a Scholar must complete the contiguous 15 month Scholar tenure from May to the following August. Students anticipating a graduation date next year, for example, are eligible provided they commit to completing their research during the summer following graduation. All Scholars present posters at the annual Beckman Scholars Symposium in August of their second summer. There are no exceptions to these policies.

Study abroad of any type is not allowed during the Scholar tenure, so all activities of this type must either be completed prior to May (beginning of Scholar tenure), or initiated following August (second August, end of the Scholar tenure).


What It Is: 

  • The time commitment is 40 hours per week during the summers, and 15 hours per week during the academic year. The summer commitment must be contiguous – all travel must be completed before or after the summer tenure. 
  • Scholars are required to travel to the Beckman Foundation for the annual Beckman Scholar Symposium held each August. Arrangements and reimbursement for this event are handled by the Beckman Foundation.
  • Scholars, with guidance from their Mentor, will develop a high-quality, focused research problem that will ultimately lead to publication.
  • Scholars will support the Beckman Scholars Program in future years during the selection process, and through various mentoring activities as requested by the Director.
  • Scholars are expected to develop into peer role models for others interested in scientific research careers. This includes being competitive for, and applying to, national awards, and continuing this track into graduate school (PhD) or MD/PhD programs.
  • Scholars should not take courses, including standardized test prep courses, during the summers. Scholars must consult with the College to determine whether it is appropriate to register for research credit during the academic year; your receipt of a stipend during the academic year may complicate this.
  • All Scholars must complete a Senior Honors Thesis.
  • Any travel abroad should be completed before, or begin after, tenure as a Scholar.


In addition to the intensive scientific training received, Beckman Scholars will also attend two workshops per quarter designed to help them grow and develop, including focused work on written and oral presentation skills.  Outside scholars, publications editors, and fellowships professionals will also present at Beckman workshops.

Faculty Role: 

All Scholars are guided by a Beckman Scholars Program Mentor. The approved Northwestern Mentors are:

Dr. Guillermo Ameer: Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering

Dr. T. David Harris: Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Michael Jewett: Chemical and Biological Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering

Dr. Chad Mirkin: Chemsitry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Chemical and Biological Enginnering, Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering; Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Ishwar Radhakrishnan: Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Karl Scheidt:Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Pharmacology, Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Samuel Stupp: Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering; Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Regan Thomson: Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Keith Tyo: Chemical and Biological Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering

Dr. Emily Weiss: Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Materials Science and Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering

Dr. Gayle Woloschak: Radiation Oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Teresa Woodruff: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine


The Mentor guides the Scholars through the study of a research problem, and s/he provides an environment that trains the Scholar both intellectually and experimentally in the discipline of their choice. The Mentors are experts in their scientific field, and represent a diverse cross section of the Northwestern faculty. The mentors are solely responsible for the scientific direction of the Scholar.


If you are interested in learning more about the Beckman Scholars Program, please contact PI Dr. Peter Civetta to set up an appointment.

Selection Process: 

A Beckman Scholars application will contain the following elements:

  • A two-page, single spaced research grant proposal outlining the project you would like to do.  Please use our URG Crafting a Research Proposal document and plan to meet with Dr. Peter Civetta to learn how to write a successful proposal.
  • A one-page, single spaced description of any mentoring that you have previously received and how you feel that you will benefit from the mentoring received as a Beckman Scholar.
  • A resume (the resume and the above two documents must be combined and submitted as a single PDF).
  • An official transcript electronically sent to Dr. Peter Civetta.
  • Two faculty endorsements: one must be from one of the 14 approved Beckman mentors listed above and the other from another faculty member familiar with you or your work.


Four to six finalists will be selected by a faculty review committee for interviews to be conducted over the first two weeks of spring quarter.  Preparation for the interviews will be conducted by Dr. Peter Civetta.  Two winners will be named by the end of April.