Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Beckman Scholars

Franklin & Marshall College received a grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to support three distinguished Chemistry and Biology students as part of the Foundation's Beckman Scholars Program.  These outstanding students received support during two summers and the intervening academic year to engage in collaborative research with a faculty member, which resulted in a number of student co-authored publications.  The Scholars also benefited their Mentors. For example, Kunkle's research helped initiate a study of the effects of bedrock on forest ecology in Lancaster County. Sipe's classes and research students have subsequently used Kunkle's 15 sites repeatedly, and this bedrock project is now the most important component of Sipe's research program in the Lancaster area. By working with the Scholars, the Mentors also found better ways to mentor such exceptional young scientists.

The Scholars and their accomplishments are described below.

Lara Margolis

(Chemistry; Claude Yoder, mentor)
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Margolis '02 began her research career during the summer before her first year at Franklin & Marshall as a Moore Mentorship student in Chemistry. Her research, financed primarily by the Beckman Scholarship, continued  throughout every academic year and summer here. She is a coauthor with Yoder of four papers, graduated with departmental honors, and received the Williamson Award-the highest honor the College bestows upon a graduating student. She taught high school for two years with Teach for America, and did graduate studies at Princeton where her research focused on designing functional models for enediyne toxins. While at Princeton she was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship and the Edward C. Taylor Fellowship in Chemistry. She received her Masters degree in January 2006. Margolis is currently employed by the Department of Defense.


Alison Harding Gregro

(Chemistry; Ronald Musselman, mentor; now at USF)
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For Gregro '02, the financial support provided by her Beckman Scholarship enabled her to focus her efforts on research. As a senior Gregro was given the Merck Award of Excellence for practices she instituted in the department.  She explored her interest in synthetic organic chemistry in an internship with Merck Pharmaceutical, where she is now a Staff Chemist in Medicinal Chemistry working on drug therapies for Alzheimer's disease. She reports: "I was asked to chair the department's safety committee, which is usually a position reserved for PhD's. However, my senior director felt I had the leadership qualities to head the committee. The confidence in my abilities and the leadership qualities I learned come, in part, from being a Beckman Scholar."


Justin Kunkle

(Biology; Timothy Sipe, mentor)
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Kunkle graduated with departmental honors for his study of the impact of Lancaster County bedrock formations on soil properties, tree seedling growth, photosynthesis, and forest composition. He received a  highly competitive Plant Sciences Fellowship to attend Michigan State University in the Department of Forestry. Kunkle says, "Not only did the Beckman scholarship aid in my decision to attend graduate school, but it prepared me for almost all of the challenges that I have faced at MSU." Kunkle was awarded a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship whose goals include enriching K-12 science instruction while providing graduate students the opportunity to improve their teaching skills.