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Applications available for 2012 David J. Beck Fellowships

Lamar University is now accepting applications for the university’s most prestigious undergraduate award, the David J. Beck Fellowship. For the first time this year, the university will name two recipients of the Beck Fellowship, which provides a full academic scholarship to LU covering all tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board for one calendar year. Additionally, Beck Fellows receive up to $10,000 each for summer projects, which may include research, travel, an internship or some other pursuit to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

Completed application packets, including proposals for summer projects, must be submitted no later than Oct. 1, 2011.

Lamar University’s current Beck Fellow, Elisabeth Maxwell of Beaumont, is preparing to spend June and July in Hermanus, South Africa, as an intern with the South African Shark Conservancy as her summer project. Maxwell, 20, a sophomore biology major, plans a career as a marine biologist and sees the internship as an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the field of marine conservation and management. Already she has delved into current research on shark conservation and the work of other conservancy organizations.

“I actually did a speech on shark finning in my honors public speaking class,” Maxwell said. “It was good practice for when I’ll be talking to people in the community and trying to make them understand why this is a problem and what we’re doing about it.”

Maxwell plans to blog about her internship in South Africa at elisabethmaxwell.blogspot.com

Previous David J. Beck Fellows were biology major Michael Zarzosa, who completed an independent research project in Belize in summer 2010, and nursing major Jennifer Mikel, who worked as a nursing intern in Ghana in summer 2009.

The David J. Beck Fellowships were made possible by a $1 million gift to LU’s Investing in the Future campaign from distinguished alumnus David J. Beck. A former regent of the Lamar University System, Beck is a founding partner in a premier Houston law firm, Beck Redden & Secrest. A Port Arthur native, he credits Lamar University with giving him the opportunity to attend college and gain a foundation for future success.

Maxwell said the fellowship “puts the right amount of pressure on you. You have certain things you have to accomplish and you have all the resources provided by the university, but you have to do it. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not too much. It’s just the right amount that it challenges you to grow, but it doesn’t force you to go crazy.”

Applicants for the David J. Beck Fellowship must be full-time Lamar University undergraduates in any major with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher. Because the fellowship runs for one calendar year, applicants should be planning to graduate no earlier than December 2012. Fellows are selected based on the strength of their complete application packet, including proposed summer project, academic record and financial need. Finalists will be interviewed in October.

Application packets are available in the offices of the senior associate provost (Plummer 104), Honors Program (Honors Building) or each college dean. For more information, visit lamar.edu/beckfellowships or call (409) 880-8400.

For more information on becoming a Lamar University student, visit BeACardinal.com or call (409) 880-8316.