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Apply for 2013 David J. Beck Fellowships by Oct. 1

As Lamar University’s current David J. Beck Fellows are completing their fellowship projects, other top students have just a few weeks remaining to apply for the 2013 David J. Beck Fellowships. The application deadline for this prestigious award for outstanding Lamar University undergraduates is Oct. 1.

Chelsea Barnard outside Canterbury Cathedral

Two David J. Beck Fellows will be selected to receive full academic scholarships to LU for 2013, covering all tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board. Additionally, fellows receive up to $10,000 each for summer projects, which may include research, travel, an internship or other activity to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

Lamar University’s 2012 Beck Fellows, Chelsea Barnard of Port Neches and Elisabeth Maxwell of Beaumont, both traveled abroad for their summer projects. Barnard, a senior English major, completed her own pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, walking across the English countryside with other travelers and staying in bed and breakfasts. Her goal was to explore Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in its contemporary setting as a living work. She documented her journey with a blog (http://chaucerrevisited.tumblr.com/) and is completing a book of poetry and photos about the trip.

“I’ve come back realizing that not only do I love British literature, but I hope to specialize in medieval literature. Now I’m looking at graduate schools and on top of that I’m thinkingabout teaching in France for a year,” Barnard said.

“The fellowship opens up your mind to more than you think you can do,” she said. “It pushes you to be better, which is your goal in college. It’s not just to learn the facts but to grow as an individual.”

Maxwell, a senior biology major, worked on a research project on manta rays in Mozambique in conjunction with the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Mega-fauna. She completed more than 30 deep dives to obtain DNA samples from manta rays using a new, less invasive sampling method. She is now working with those samples and similar ones collected by other researchers in a laboratory on campus and continues to collaborate with a leading researcher in Mozambique, another in Australia and her faculty mentor, Ana Christensen, associate professor of biology.

“We’re hoping to publish our research. It’s not like I’m just in the lab playing around for my own benefit. This is hopefully going to benefit the scientific community,” Maxwell said. “This is exactly the kind of thing that I’m hoping to do with my career. Having the opportunity to do it as an undergraduate is so much above and beyond what I could have accomplished without this fellowship.”

Elisabeth Maxwell diving with manta rayBarnard and Maxwell will give presentations about their summer experiences at a ceremony honoring the 2013 David J. Beck Fellows later this semester. Maxwell previously was selected as 2011 Beck Fellow, during which she completed an internship with the South African Shark Conservancy. Previous fellows are no longer eligible to reapply.

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 plan to graduate no earlier than December 2013. 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 online at www.lamar.edu/beckfellowships and in the offices of the senior associate provost (Plummer 104), Honors Program (Honors Building) or each college dean. For more information, visit www.lamar.edu/beckfellowships or call (409) 880-8400.

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.           

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