Skip to main content

Two A&S Students Selected for UK's Beckman Scholars SUCCESS Program

By Jesi Jones-Bowman 

Photo of two people.
Kaitlyn Brock, left, a neuroscience and psychology major, and Hena Kachroo, a chemistry major, are the recipients of UK's Beckman Scholars Program.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2023) — Two undergraduates have been selected as recipients of the University of Kentucky’s Beckman Scholars Program, titled Scholars United by Chemistry: Cultivating Excellence through Science Stewardship.

The Beckman Scholars — Kaitlyn Brock, a neuroscience and psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Lewis Honors College, and Hena Kachroo, a chemistry major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Lewis Honors College — will begin their independent, laboratory research this summer.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation’s Beckman Scholars Program is a 15-month mentored research experience for exceptional undergraduate students in chemistry, biological sciences and interdisciplinary combinations. UK was selected as one of 14 institutions of higher learning nationally to receive the award last year.

The multidisciplinary program is built on the cornerstone of chemistry as the central science that unites UK’s Research Priority Areas, established to serve the pressing needs of Kentuckians and the nation.

Brock will be investigating the mechanisms and effects of bacterial endotoxin on skeletal muscle and synaptic transmission within fly and crayfish models in the lab of Robin Cooper,  professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology. Bacteria that produce endotoxin trigger an immune response in humans that can lead to sepsis and infection.

“The Beckman Scholars Program will give me an opportunity to better understand the processes associated with endotoxin and find potentially lifesaving treatments,” Brock said. “I’m also looking forward to gaining long-term experience working with both my mentor and other researchers outside of my primary discipline to prepare for a career in science.”

Kachroo will be investigating biochemical solutions to challenges in sustainable energy in the lab of Anne-Frances Miller,professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry.

“I plan to pursue a career in chemistry-based research and further study areas of astrobiology that relate to the effects of extraterrestrial environments on organic molecules and biochemical reactions that govern life on Earth,” Kachroo said. “The Beckman Scholars Program will allow me to hone my practical research skills and deepen knowledge in my area of research while making valuable connections.”

As Beckman Scholars, Brock and Kachroo will receive $21,000 over 15 months: $18,200 for a student stipend and $2,800 to support scientific supply and travel for current research activities. Faculty mentors will also receive $5,000 to support educational expenses.

Each Beckman Scholar must perform research activities part-time during one academic year and full-time over two consecutive summers. They must also complete a required training and professional development series, at least one outreach or service activity during the academic year and mid-program and end-of-program surveys. Scholars will participate in the SUCCESS Roundtable series, present at the UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars in April 2024 and attend one Beckman Scholar Symposium.

Learn more about the Beckman Scholar Program here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.