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Beckman Scholar Alexander Tuttle '08 collaborates with Associate Professor of Psychology Wendy Sternberg.
Beckman Scholar Alexander Tuttle '08 collaborates with Associate Professor of Psychology Wendy Sternberg.

Haverford Receives Beckman Scholars Award for Fourth Time

Four graduated summa cum laude from Haverford. Four more graduated magna cum laude. Seven were elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Two received Goldwater Fellowships; three, Fulbrights. All have gone on to prestigious graduate programs at institutions like Penn, Johns Hopkins, and Berkeley. The future has been undoubtedly bright for the 11 Haverford students who have been selected as Beckman Scholars since 1999.

Now, Haverford has once again been chosen as a recipient of the Beckman Scholars Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which promotes research in chemistry and life sciences at colleges and universities across the country. Haverford is one of only a few institutions to have received the Beckman Award four times.

The award is used to fund 15 months of research for exceptional science students; the Beckman Scholars program is the only one at Haverford to guarantee research support for more than one year. “This enables ambitious and long-range planning in project design, and encourages the students to take on innovative and challenging projects,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Iruka Okeke, who oversees the Beckman program at Haverford. “The scholarship also offers academic flexibility and allows scholars to accomplish all they can in their research.”

In addition to research, the Beckman Scholars program supports students’ opportunities for mentored self-study and extracurricular training and projects, such as “Biography of the Experiment,” where students read and annotate a classic scientific paper and travel to interview at least one of its primary authors.

Beckman Scholars also become mentors for underclassmen and other Scholars, and initiate their own scientific activities at Haverford; for example, previous Scholars started the Chemistry Club and led seminars in social medicine. The students work as collaborative colleagues with their faculty mentors, often co-authoring papers with them and accompanying them to regional and national meetings.

Current Beckman recipients are Emily Hinchcliff ’08, who studies T-cell development with Professor of Biology Jenni Punt, and Alexander Tuttle ’08, who explores the effects of pain and empathetic behavior with Associate Professor of Psychology Wendy Sternberg.

“The Beckman program, along with Haverford’s strong research program, has really been instrumental in my development as a researcher,” says the med school-bound Hinchcliff. “It allowed me to choose a project that I was interested in, and, in combination with Jenni’s very hands-on approach, let me develop my own research question. I also learned how to create a research story—putting together the various research questions into a flowing narrative really helps focus my ideas and drive the next experiment.”

“The Beckman Science Scholarship has been a defining part of my experience at Haverford,” says Tuttle.  “The scholarship has allowed me to explore my interests in behavioral neuroscience to a greater degree than I would have thought possible as an undergraduate. Most importantly, the scholarship has helped define and strengthen my passion for laboratory-based research.” During the next two years, Tuttle will work in a biology wet lab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, after which time he’ll pursue a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience. “I have no doubt that the Beckman Scholarship was a primary influence on my decision to pursue laboratory research after college.”

-Brenna McBride

The intersection of College Lane and Coursey Road in front of the Cricket Pitch.

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