Beckman Coulter Foundation Endows Three Petit Undergraduate Research Scholarships

$500,000 Donation Supports Scholars for the Life of the Program

The Beckman Coulter Foundation announced a $500,000 donation to the Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  This donation will be used to establish the Beckman Coulter Undergraduate Research Scholars Endowment Fund that will support three “Beckman Coulter Foundation Petit Scholars” for the life of the program.

Petit Scholars Class of 2012
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The Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars program is a competitive scholarship program that serves to develop the next generation of leading bioengineering and bioscience researchers by providing a comprehensive research experience for a full year.  Open to all Atlanta area university students, the program allows undergraduates to conduct independent research in the state-of-the-art laboratories of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (Petit Institute).  Under the mentorship of a graduate student and faculty member, scholars develop their own independent research project.

"This program provides top undergraduate students with the opportunity to experience firsthand the thrill of research discovery and innovation and hopefully encourages them to pursue an advanced degree in medicine or biotechnology," said Bob Guldberg, Executive Director of the Petit Institute.  “We are deeply grateful to the Beckman Coulter Foundation and Russ Bell for this significant gift enabling us to expand the Petit Scholars program."

"Every year the number of outstanding undergraduates who apply to the program grows," added Todd McDevitt, program faculty advisor.  "Our increasing challenge is to secure enough funding for all of the well-qualified students to work in the Petit Institute investigator’s laboratories."

The Beckman Coulter Foundation felt a real connection between its mission to support healthcare-related science education and the Petit Institute’s innovative undergraduate research scholars program because of the impact it has made thus far.  Since its inception in 2000, the program has trained over 186 talented students and created opportunities for them to conduct research in state-of-the-art research facilities.

“This grant not only honors Beckman Coulter founders, Arnold Beckman and Wallace Coulter, two of the most important scientific innovators of the 20th century,” said Russ Bell, President of the Beckman Coulter Foundation, “but also honors their tradition of ‘paying forward.’” 

“I was fortunate and blessed to have been asked as a Georgia Tech undergraduate in 1968 to do research in Nancy Walls’ lab, so I am especially happy that the Beckman Coulter Foundation has recognized the excellence of the Petit Undergraduate Research program,” Bell said.  “We know that our support will help produce the next generation of scientific leaders that would  make Beckman’s Coulter’s Founders proud.”

Petit Scholars receive training that provides a solid foundation for them to pursue advanced degrees in science or engineering with 62% entering a graduate degree program and 15% entering medical school indicating that close to 80% of Petit Scholars go on to obtain advanced degrees.  Many are already distinguishing themselves in research, medicine and industry.

Each year, Georgia Tech hosts a fundraising dinner for the Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars program in order to support the next class.  This year’s dinner will be held June 23, 2012 at the Piedmont Driving Club and world-class athlete, Scott Rigsby, will be the featured speaker.  Over 100 Atlanta-area community members and business leaders will attend. The Beckman Coulter Foundation will be recognized at the dinner as a platinum sponsor for their donation. 

The Beckman Coulter Foundation is a separate, private foundation established in 2007 as an important part of Beckman Coulter's charitable giving efforts.  The Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of Beckman Coulter, by funding programs which are focused around science, science education and healthcare-related research that improves patient health and the quality of life.

Since its establishment, the Beckman Coulter Foundation has provided more than 5 million dollars of funding toward grants in the areas of: Clinical Fellowships, Clinical Laboratory Science Programs, President’s Scholars Programs, Science Enrichment and numerous other educational and research-based programs.