LU News Archive

LU names two David J. Beck Fellows for 2014

Kollin Kahler of Waco and Keeley Townley-Smith of Lumberton have been chosen as 2014 recipients of the David J. Beck Fellowships, a highly competitive and generous award for Keeley Townley Smith, President Ken Evans and Kollin KahlerLamar University undergraduate students.

LU President Ken Evans presented the awards during a ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the University Reception Center on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library. The event also included recognition of a finalist for the fellowship, Jeremy Allen of Beaumont, and presentations by 2013 Beck Fellows Amy Morgan of Silsbee and Crissie Vandehoef of Port Neches about their summer fellowship projects.

Summer projects are proposed as part of the fellowship’s rigorous application process and are funded by the fellowship. The Beck Fellowship also covers all academic expenses for one calendar year, including tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board.

Kahler, an exercise science/pre-med major, plans to study advances in rehabilitative surgery and therapy for sports injuries at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin, Ireland, as his summer project. “I feel like I can learn so much from this. For any future orthopedic surgeon, this would be the best opportunity,” he said.

Townley-Smith, a physics/electrical engineering major, plans to complete an internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., with the atomic spectroscopy group as her summer project. “It’s amazing just to be able to go and do this type of research with scientists of such high caliber,” she said.

The finalist for the fellowship, Allen, is a management information systems major who proposed completing a three-stage business internship in Argentina, the Panama Canal and the Port of Beaumont.

First awarded in 2009, the fellowships are made possible by a generous gift from LU distinguished alumnus and prominent attorney David J. Beck, founding partner of Beck Redden LLP in Houston.

As a 2013 Beck Fellow, Morgan, an English and Spanish major, traveled to Argentina where she attended a literary seminar and worked on translations of works by Argentine author Mempo Giardinelli, organizer of the seminar.

Vandehoef, also a 2013 Beck Fellow, is a biology/chemistry/pre-med major who worked as a research assistant at the National Institutes of Health where she investigated akylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease from which she suffers.

The David J. Beck Fellowship is open to full-time LU undergraduates of any major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. For more information on the David J. Beck Fellowship, visit or call (409) 880-8400.