College of Science

Beckman Scholars persist through the pandemic


Beckman Scholars persist through the pandemic

This summer, three undergraduate students began their journey as Clemson University Beckman Scholars, joining an elite group of students across 13 institutions. The University has awarded five of six scholarships to second-year students who are selected for their academic achievements.

The selected  scholars  participate in a 15-month mentored laboratory experience and present their work at the conclusion of their second summer of research at the annual Beckman Symposium. The Beckman Scholars are:

Lauren Davis, 2020 Beckman Scholar

Headshot of Lauren DavisDavis is a bioengineering major from Lakeville, Minnesota. She began her Beckman Scholars research remotely this past summer, researching the analysis of chemical and mechanical structural changes of hernia mesh following removal from the body. Her mentor is Melinda Harman in the Department of Bioengineering.

She is a recipient of the Jungaleers Memorial Grant, Rauch Saxophone Grant in Aid, and a two-year recipient of the Delta Award for Excellence Scholarship.  She also received the Larry S. Bowman Outstanding Bioengineering Junior Award.

Davis is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honors society, and Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional sorority for women in engineering and technical sciences.


Hayden Tharpe, 2020 Beckman Scholar

Tharpe is from Easley, S.C. and is a major in chemical and biomolecular engineering.  Her mentor is Mark Blenner, the McQueen- Quattlebaum Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

She began her Beckman Scholars research project in the laboratory this summer on the topic of engineering a highly sensitive and modular reaction cascade biosensor.

Tharpe has already been involved in research for two years. She plans to continue research beyond the end of her Beckman Scholars funding in 2021, focusing on engineering new antibodies for the detection and possible treatment for COVID-19 and other targets of interest. She has received the Clemson Presidential Scholarship and was a semi-finalist for the Department of Defense SMART Scholar. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree with a research focus on new therapies and biopharmaceuticals. She is an active member of Clemson’s Alpha Omega Epsilon chapter as well as Clemson College Democrats.


Luke Broughton, 2020 Beckman Scholar

Broughton is from Lancaster, S.C. and is a chemistry major.  His Beckman Scholars mentor is chemistry professor Julia Brumaghim.

He began his Beckman Scholars research this summer and is exploring the synthesis of glutathione analogs to increase intracellular concentrations.

Broughton has been involved in research with Dr. Brumaghim’s group since the 2019 Fall semester and plans to continue working in the laboratory through his senior year.

Upon graduation, he plans to attend medical school and pursue research in a clinical setting. In addition to being a Beckman Scholar, he has received the SC Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, SC Palmetto Fellow Enhancement, Clemson Pact Scholarship, Clemson Presidential Scholarship and the William P. Clyburn Memorial Scholarship.


Shaoni Dasgupta, 2019 Beckman Scholar

Dasgupta is a biological sciences major from Charleston, S.C. During the 15-month program, she was mentored by Kerry Smith, director of the Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center (EPIC) program and professor of genetics and biochemistry.

Her research involves understanding the role of carnitine acetyltransferases in the virulence of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

During her senior year, she plans to continue her current research and pursue departmental honors. In addition to her Beckman Scholar award, she has received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, and Outstanding Junior in Science award.


Nathan Matzko, 2019 Beckman Scholar

Matzko is a biochemistry major from Irmo, S.C. His research involves the study of human single-stranded DNA binding proteins SSB1 and SSB2 to biochemically characterize them and determine their significance in the DNA double-strand break repair pathway homologous recombination. Nate’s mentor is Michael Sehorn, associate professor in genetics and biochemistry.

Matzko completed his Beckman Scholars term this summer. He will continue research and pursue scholarly publication during his senior year, along with pursuing departmental honors in genetics and biochemistry, while also applying to M.D. programs.

Nate is a Clemson National Scholar and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies.

Clemson University’s Creative Inquiry Program manages the Beckman Scholar Program with funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

Undergraduate students interested in becoming Beckman Scholars should visit the application website. Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2020 until November 1, 2020.

Prior to applying for the Program, undergraduate students must have completed one year or one semester and a summer of research, have a 3.8 GPA and have demonstrated excellence in conducting research, analytical skills and communication skills.

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