From left to right: Nick Mortimore, Dr. Rafael Yuste, Bryce Wilson

Beckman Scholars, Nick Mortimore and Bryce Wilson, with 2023 Beckman Seminar Speaker, Dr. Rafael Yuste.

From left to right: Nick Mortimore, Dr. Rafael Yuste, Bryce Wilson


The Beckman Scholars Program, funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, helps stimulate, encourage, and support research activities by exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students who are pursuing their studies at accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The Beckman Scholarship is a prestigious one, providing a total student stipend of $18,200 plus $2,800 for research supplies and travel support over the course of the 15-month experience. Two Beckman Scholars will be selected annually.

The UArizona Beckman Scholars Program gives undergraduates funding and support to conduct in-depth research with one of 11 stellar mentors in UArizona’s College of Science on a full-time basis for two consecutive summers, and part-time during the intervening academic year. UArizona Beckman Scholars work on a project of interest in their selected mentor’s lab, engage in professional development activities, such as leading undergraduates in small group discussions, inviting and hosting an eminent scientist to give a seminar at UArizona, meeting with Beckman Mentors, and serving as student leaders within the Undergraduate Biology Research Program, etc.

UArizona Beckman Mentors

Dr. Craig Aspinwall

Dr. Ross Buchan

Dr. Pascale Charest

Dr. Matthew Cordes

Dr. Katrina Dlugosch

Dr. Ryan Gutenkunst

Dr. Nancy Horton

Dr. Michael Marty

Dr. Joanna Masel

Dr. Lisa Nagy

Dr. Andrew Paek


To apply to UArizona’s Beckman Scholars Program, you must:

  • Be a University of Arizona full-time undergraduate student majoring in any biological or chemical science, intending to pursue an advanced science degree or other scientific pursuits.
  • Be a sophomore or junior, at the time of application, graduating in May 2025 or later.
  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, or hold DACA recipient status.
  • Be willing and able to devote two consecutive summers (full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks) and the intervening academic year (part-time) to working on a research project.
  • Be willing and able to participate in the annual Beckman Symposium, held in Irvine, CA, for both summers. If in-person, travel and hotel accommodations will be provided.
  • Be willing and able to serve as a summer workshop leader and peer facilitator for Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) participants and engage in the professional development activities associated with this program.

Application Process

Students interested in the Beckman Scholars Program must submit the following application materials to Quinn Reilly in the UBRP Office, Life Sciences South #225, or via email at by 12:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 24th, 2024:  

  • A complete  2024 Beckman Scholars Application Cover Page

  • A one-page personal statement describing your career goals and reasons for applying to be a Beckman Scholar. 

  • A one-page description of your previous research experience. Previous research experience is not required to apply. 

  • Transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended (either Unofficial or Official). 

  • One letter of recommendation from a UArizona math or science professor. 

  • Your Spring 2024 course schedule, indicating times available for an interview. 

  • Three-page, single spaced, 11 pt. font with 1” margins, research proposal based on the selected article prompt below.

    • If you choose to include figures, they must be put at the end of the proposal and they will not count towards the three-page limit. A maximum of 2 figures may be included. 

For the research proposal, applicants will select ONE of the following articles and write a three-page, single spaced, sample research proposal on the related prompt. This research proposal is NOT a proposal for the research you would be doing with a Beckman Mentor; rather this is an exercise to demonstrate your knowledge and ability to think creatively in terms of scientific research. 

"How to Destroy 'Forever Chemicals'" - Scientific American 

  • PFASs, perfluorinated/polyfluorinated alkyl substances, are one example of “forever chemicals." These chemicals are produced for many industrial reasons with no easy way to remove them from the environment, leading to several health and environmental concerns. Using your knowledge of organic and general chemistry, devise a three-page research proposal analyzing a “forever chemical” of interest to you, and design a study to identify ways in which these chemicals may be broken down or changed to decrease their danger to the general public and environment.

“Stress Responders: Polyploid cells, which have extra copies of their genomes, may help tissues respond to injuries and species survive catacylsms” - Science News  

  • Polyploidy was first discovered in the early 1900s and has relevance to a wide range of biological disciplines including genetics, agriculture, evolution, ecology, and cancer. Certain tissues in the human body are polyploid, and a role for polyploid cells in wound healing has also recently emerged. Given this, devise a three-page research proposal that focuses on either applying polypolid cells, or manipulating cell ploidy, for the purposes of understanding or treating a human disease of your choosing.


A typical proposal of this type has several pieces: 

  • Very brief introduction/specific aims. 

  • Background and significance. 

  • Elaborate upon the problem you have chosen, explain current approaches to solve the problem (why you chose your approach versus other approaches). 

  • Describe specific aims and lay out experimental details/problems/solutions that elaborate on your aims. Clearly describe the logic behind your experiments and consider possible pitfalls. 

  • Potential problems & solutions. 

  • Make sure to cite all relevant background articles that form the basis for your proposal and any figures that you use. 

It is highly recommended that you submit an outline or draft of your research proposal prior to winter break in order to obtain feedback from UArizona Beckman Scholars and/or Mentors before you submit your final application. Please contact Quinn Reilly at to arrange for feedback. 

Beckman Scholar Selection 

A committee will review students’ application packets and evaluate the creativity/merit of their research proposals; the most highly qualified applicants will be invited for an interview with the selection committee in mid-February. At the interview, applicants will give a 10-minute presentation on their proposal to the selection committee. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance or rejection for the UArizona Beckman Scholarship by early March 2024. 


Please contact Quinn Reilly at