Calvin students to do research through Beckman Scholars grant

Photo courtesy calvin.edu
Photo courtesy calvin.edu

Professors Carolyn Anderson and David Benson will be conducting two research projects this summer with the help of two students — Andrea Bootsma and Susan Hromada — and the Beckman Scholars Program $104,000 grant.

The Beckman Scholars program is funded through the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which is pledged to “promote the research experience of exceptional undergraduates,” said Anderson.

The grant will be funding four scholars over the next three years for 15-month research projects. Each of the four scholars will be paired with a mentor. The research projects will be related to that specific mentor’s research.

Anderson and Bootsma will be working on a research project that will use computational chemistry and organic synthesis to explore a class of rotationally restricted molecules called N-alkyl quinolones.

“This class of molecules has been a focal point of my group’s research for some time now,” said Anderson.

Benson and Hromada will be working on a research topic that is related to some of the work that Benson is currently studying.

Bootsma is a junior this year at Calvin, majoring in chemistry and mathematics. Hromada is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry.

These students were chosen after a very long application process. The department first sent out an email to a large body of students to find students that were interested in participating in the research projects this summer. The biology and chemistry/biochemistry departments were then asked to choose four of the top students to be considered for the award. These eight students were then asked to apply to be a Beckman Scholar.

The process for this involved the students writing out a personal statement about their future career goals and “a short proposal detailing the work that they would do in the identified mentor’s lab during their time as a scholar,” said Anderson.

Only six of the eight students applied to be a Beckman Scholar. The six students were then interviewed by Stan Haan, the dean for the natural sciences and mathematics, Professor Arlene Hoogewerf, who was representing the biology department, and Professor Doug Vander Griend, who was representing the chemistry/biochemistry department.

After the interviews, the panel selected Bootsma and Hromada to be this year’s scholars, although only one of these students will be named as a scholar for the next two years of the grant.

Calvin College has been awarded this grant twice now; the first time was back in 2008. Calvin applied for this award last summer.

About the Author

Kellee Dragt

Kellee Dragt is a Chimes staff writer for the 2013-14 school year.

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