Chang and Georgiades named Beckman Scholars

Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation honors “exceptionally talented” undergrads.

Cynthia Chang and John Georgiades, both juniors majoring in chemistry, have been chosen to participate in the Beckman Scholars Program. Created by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the program is intended to provide “in-depth, sustained undergraduate research experiences for exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students.”  

Chang (left) and Georgiades

Chang and Georgiades will each receive $21,000 to cover costs such as scientific supplies, travel to symposia, and a student stipend. Mentors for each student will also receive $5,000. 

Chang, who studies biofilms created by Staphylococcus aureus, was nominated by her mentor Meredith Jackrel, assistant professor of chemistry. “Cynthia is consistently excited by the opportunity to formulate new hypotheses and routinely has new ideas,” Jackrel said. “She has enormous potential for a scientific career.”

Georgiades, who studies the mechanisms that bacteria use to develop antibiotic resistance,  was nominated by his mentor Tim Wencewicz, associate professor of chemistry. “Johns curiosity, intellect, dedication, and grit are what will make him a successful researcher,” Wencewicz said. “He enjoys digging into the primary literature to actively build his knowledge. This translates into his work.”

Both recipients are also involved in activities outside the laboratory. Chang participates in the Peer-Led Team Learning program in chemistry, where she leads recitation sessions to help students in general chemistry courses. She also co-chairs the question writing committee for the Washington University Chemistry Tournament, a national high school chemistry competition. 

Georgiades is an organic chemistry teaching assistant and a co-director of the Washington University Chemistry Tournament. He is also co-director of the Washington University STEM Education Association and vice president of the Washington University Cancer Research Club. 

WashU was one 14 colleges and universities selected to participate in the 2023 Beckman Scholars Program. Two more WashU scholars will be chosen in 2024, and another two will be selected in 2025.