UK receives science scholarship funds

By Megan Neff

For the third time, UK has been selected by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to receive scholarship money that will fund six students’ scientific research in chemistry, biochemistry, or biological and medical sciences.

UK received $115,800 this year, which will provide $19,300 to each of the undergraduates. It also received the funds in 2002 and 2005. The university distributes the money over the course of three years by choosing two new scholars each year.

Eddie Kobraei, a biology senior and current Beckman Scholar, said his experience in the program has been unparalleled. He has been conducting research to provide information that might lead to better treatments for central nervous system diseases.

“(The scholarship) has enabled me to propel my research project forward and has allowed me to travel to several conferences across the United States to present my research,” Kobraei said.

Sophomores and juniors majoring in biology, chemistry or similar fields can apply for the next round of scholarships by today. President Lee Todd will announce this year’s two scholars April 25.

If selected, scholars conduct their research within the laboratory of a UK faculty mentor, chosen by the Beckman Foundation.

Allan Butterfield, a biological chemistry professor and director of the Center of Membrane Sciences, is one of the 16 mentors and was chosen based on his success in research and mentorship.

Butterfield received a Presidential Award for Excellence in 1998 because of his work in training under-represented groups, such as women, minorities and people from Appalachia, at the doctorate level in chemistry.

As mentor, Butterfield supervises the research of Beckman scholars working in his laboratory. He offers them advice on conducting research, writing papers and preparing for careers in science or medicine.

He said he has found the experience of being a mentor rewarding, and he is proud of the Beckman scholars who have worked hard and succeed with their research.

“It is gratifying to see how bright, committed students learn about research and gain confidence in themselves on many levels,” Butterfield said.