LU News Archive

Two LU students named 2013 David J. Beck Fellows

Amy Morgan of Silsbee and Crissie Vandehoef of Port Neches have been chosen as 2013 recipients of the David J. Beck Fellowships, a competitive and generous award for Lamar University undergraduate students.

LU President James Simmons announced the awards during a Tuesday ceremony in the University Reception Center on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library. The event also included recognition of four finalists for the 2013 fellowships and presentations by LU’s 2012 Beck Fellows, Chelsea Barnard of Port Neches and Elisabeth Maxwell of Beaumont, about their summer fellowship projects.

In summer 2013, Morgan, an English and Spanish major, and Vandehoef, a biology and chemistry major, will embark on their own summer projects made possible by the David J. Beck Fellowships.

2013 Beck Fellow Amy Morgan with LU President James Simmons and Provost Steve Doblin

Morgan, 21, plans to travel to Argentina, where she will attend a literary seminar, meet the seminar’s founder, Mempo Giardinelli, and translate a work by Giardinelli. “Getting the chance to meet with the author who I’ll be translating is going to be amazing,” said Morgan, who plans to pursue a career as a translator. “I think it’s going to be a good stepping stone for me.”

A Mirabeau Scholar, Morgan has been active in the Honors Student Association at Lamar and serves as president of the LU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, an English honors society.

Vandehoef, 20, plans to work as a research assistant at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., in research on ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that she has.2013 Beck Fellow Crissie Vandehoef with LU President James Simmons and Provost Steve Doblin “I want to do something to further cures and treatments because I don’t like the treatment options that are available,” she said. “It’s an awesome opportunity.”

At Lamar, Vandehoef conducts research through the STAIRSTEP program and serves as vice president of LU’s Student Association of the American Chemical Society. She hopes to pursue a medical research career after obtaining an MD/PhD.

The Beck Fellowship covers all expenses – including tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board – for one year and includes up to $10,000 to pursue a summer project proposed as part of the application packet. First awarded in 2009, the fellowship is made possible by a generous gift from LU distinguished alumnus and prominent attorney David J. Beck, founding partner of Beck, Redden & Secrest, LLP in Houston.

As a 2012 Beck Fellow, Barnard, a senior English major, completed a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to explore Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in its contemporary setting as a living work. She documented her journey with a blog ( and a book of poetry and photos about the trip.

Maxwell, a senior biology major and 2012 Beck Fellow, worked on a research project on manta rays in Mozambique in conjunction with the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Mega-fauna. She collected DNA samples during dives and continued laboratory work and collaboration with other researchers after returning to LU. She hopes to publish the group’s findings.

Finalists for the 2013 Beck Fellowship, with a description of their proposed summer projects, follow.

Md. Hasan, a chemical engineering major from Faridpur, Bangladesh, proposed performing research on composite membranes at Harbin Institute of Technology in China.

Joseph Jones, an accounting major from Port Arthur, proposed completing an accounting internship with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Paige Miller, a nursing major from Port Neches, proposed working as an intern at the Children’s Malnutrition Center in San Juan, Guatemala, and using the nursing process model in her patient care.

Paul Rizk, a chemical engineering/physics/pre-med major from Beaumont, proposed completing a medical internship at a hospital in Malindi, Kenya, followed by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Applicants for the David J. Beck Fellowships must be full-time LU undergraduates in any major with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher. Fellows are selected based on the strength of their complete application packet, including proposed summer project, academic record and financial need. Application packets are available late in the spring semester and must be submitted by Oct. 1 each year. For more information on the David J. Beck Fellowships, visit or call (409) 880-8400.