The Beckman Scholars Program at Grand Valley State University

In December of 2016, Grand Valley State University became a first-time recipient of the prestigious Beckman Scholars Program award, funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. GVSU is one of eleven institutions nationwide selected to receive the 2017 Beckman Scholars Program award.

The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program (BSP) is to provide an in-depth, sustained undergraduate research experience for exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students at US colleges and universities. The BSP provides funding and support for a student and mentor to conduct sustained research over two consecutive summers and one academic year of research. Beckman Scholars also attend and present their research at the Annual Beckman Symposium in Irving, CA.

The Beckman Scholars Program (BSP) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is designed to support and develop five exceptional undergraduate research students in either chemistry, biology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, or biomedical sciences. Success in the sciences requires a honed research skill-set, exceptional academic performance, and the mindset of a research scientist. BSP at GVSU prepares undergraduate students for graduate study and research through each aspect of the program from application to completion. The program offers three components to develop and support Beckman Scholars: 1) a rigorous research apprenticeship, 2) an interdisciplinary mentoring team, and 3) exposure to diverse narratives of success.

About the Award

Each Beckman Scholar will pursue an independent research project, under the mentorship of one of the GVSU Beckman Faculty Mentors. The amount of funding for the Beckman Scholars Program is $26,000; $21,000 specifically for the Scholar and $5,000 for the Scholar’s Mentor.

The following provides a breakdown of each Beckman Scholar award: 

  • Student Stipend
    • $18,200 (First summer - $6,800; Academic Year - $4,600; Second summer - $6,800) 
  • Scientific Supply and Travel
    • $2,800; per student, distributed as needed to support current research activities (See the Budget and Reimbursement Information page for information on how to obtain these funds.)
  • Beckman Symposium
    • Each Beckman Scholar may be invited to attend the annual Beckman Symposium in each of the two summers of their award term; a formal notification and invitation to be provided
  • Mentor Stipend $5,000
    • distributed as needed during the associated Scholar’s award term to support the Scholar’s research and professional development

Eligible students must have a minimum of a 3.5 GPA, be of first year, sophomore, or junior* status, and majoring in Chemistry, Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, or Biomedical Sciences. 

In addition, students must:

  • Be a full-time student
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions
  • Demonstrate strong oral communication skills
  • Demonstrate strong writing skills
  • Be in pursuit of PhD, MD, MD/PhD; or other scientific pursuits

*If you have Junior status and have questions about your eligibility, please contact Dr. Susan Mendoza or Dr. Sok Kean Khoo.

**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).

How to Apply

The BSP at GVSU has a two-stage selection process. Applicants should prepare the proposal per the requirements listed below. The proposal needs to be one complete PDF document that you will submit online. There is only one upload button, so please be sure your document is complete.


Proposal Requirements

The proposal must include the following:

  • CV or Résumé
  • Copy of a Current Transcript (unofficial copy is fine)
  • Personal Statement: (500 words) demonstrating student’s research interests, prior research experience, and how the BSP fits into their professional goals
  • Self-Directed Research Proposal: (500 words) describing the proposed research, including relevant background information and impact of the project
  • Letter of Support from the Proposed BSP Faculty Mentor
  • Secondary Letter of Recommendation from an Additional Faculty Member

Proposals will be reviewed by the GVSU Beckman Scholars Advisory Committee (BSAC) through OURS. The BSAC will select finalists who demonstrate academic ability and professional interest. These finalists will be invited for a 30-45 minute interview. Interviews will include a 15-minute presentation and discussion of the finalist’s research topic, in addition to traditional interview questions.

The BSAC will select scholars based upon the finalists’ written and oral communication skills, their motivation and capacity for research, their ability to understand and articulate the proposed research and how it is situated within the disciplinary context, the potential to succeed in a research environment, and to contribute to the scientific community.

Two BSP scholars will be selected by the BSAC for 2017 and 2018, and one for 2019, totaling five scholars over three years.

Questions should be directed to the BSP at GVSU Program Directors Dr. Susan Mendoza, Director of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, or Dr. Sok Kean Khoo, Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology.




August 27, 2018 - May 6, 2019

BSP Year 2 Academic Year Research

January 25, 2019

BSP Year 3 Application Deadline

February 13, 2019 (tentative)

BSP Year 3 Interview Finalists Notified (no later than)

February 20 - 22, 2019 (tentative)

BSP Year 3 Finalist Interviews

March 4, 2019 (tentative)

BSP Year 3 Award Notifications Sent

May 6, 2019

BSP Year 3 Summer Research Orientation

May 20 - July 26, 2019

BSP Year 2 Summer 2 Research, and BSP Year 3 Summer 1 Research

August 1 - 4, 2019 (tentative)

BSP Year 3 Beckman Symposium

August 26, 2019 - May 1, 2020

BSP Year 3 Academic Year Research

May 18 - July 31, 2020

BSP Year 3 Summer 2 Research

Previous Dates



February 22, 2017

BSP Year 1 Application Deadline

March 3, 2017

BSP Year 1 Interview Finalists Notified (no later than)

March 13 - 15, 2017

BSP Year 1 Finalist Interviews

March 17, 2017

BSP Year 1 Award Notifications Sent

May 8, 2017

BSP Year 1 Summer Research Orientation

May 22 - July 28, 2017

BSP Year 1 Summer 1 Research

August 1, 2017

BSP Year 1 GVSU Summer Scholars Showcase

August 3 - 5, 2017

BSP Year 1 Beckman Symposium

August 28, 2017 - May 5, 2018

BSP Year 1 Academic Year Research

January 26, 2018

BSP Year 2 Application Deadline

February 14, 2018

BSP Year 2 Interview Finalists Notified (no later than)

February 21 - 23, 2018

BSP Year 2 Finalist Interviews

March 2, 2018

BSP Year 2 Award Notifications Sent

May 7, 2018

BSP Year 2 Summer Research Orientation

May 21 - July 27, 2018

BSP Year 1 Summer 2 Research, and BSP Year 2 Summer 1 Research

July 24, 2018

BSP Year 2 GVSU Summer Scholars Showcase

August 12 - 15, 2018

BSP Year 2 Beckman Symposium