Two Texas A&M University undergraduate science majors have been honored as 2020 recipients of the John B. Beckham Award in Science, announced Dr. Valen E. Johnson, distinguished professor of statistics and dean of the College of Science.
Senior biology major Mary-Catherine C. Clark ’20 of Temple, Texas, and senior chemistry major Oscar Gonzalez ’20 of San Juan, Texas, each have been honored with the award, the College of Science’s highest mark of distinction that recognizes students who best exemplify characteristics of academic achievement, character, leadership and extracurricular activities.
Clark graduated in May with a bachelor of science in molecular and cell biology, a minor in Spanish and summa cum laude honors along with both University and College of Science honors. An Aggie Research Scholar and a sophomore advisor in the University Honors Program, she has participated since spring 2017 in undergraduate research in the Texas A&M Health Science Center that resulted in authorship on a peer-reviewed publication, a conference abstract and three presentations at biomedical symposia. Clark’s honors included membership in the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Societies, the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society and the Aggie Graduate & Professional Community Club Membership Program. In addition to founding the Texas Bioscience Institute Tutoring Outreach Program for middle school children, she served as a senior member of the McLane Children’s Hospital Teen Advisory Board, a senior leadership team member for the St. Mary’s Youth Retreat Program and viola section leader for the Texas A&M Philharmonic Orchestra. In between her studies and organizational activities, Clark has logged 400-plus hours of community service, primarily with programs that help hospitalized children or those whose parents have cancer, including McClane Children’s Medical Center, Camp Kesem, the BCS Prenatal Clinic and the CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital Oncology Department. She has been accepted to the UT Health McGovern Medical School, where she plans to continue her commitment to learning and helping others.
Gonzalez also graduated in May with a bachelor of science in chemistry, double minors in physics and mathematics and summa cum laude honors. In addition to being an inaugural member of the Science Leadership Scholars (SLS) Program and a Regents Scholar, he is both an Astronaut Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar as well as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, a member of The Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas (AURA Texas) and a peer mentor within the Century Scholars Learning Community. Since fall 2017, he has conducted undergraduate research as a member of Texas A&M chemist Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee’s laboratory, where he worked on multiple projects aimed at developing materials designed to improve computing efficiency. Gonzalez previously worked with former dean of science and physics professor Dr. Meigan Aronson, creating compound samples and analyzing their magnetic properties at low temperatures in her semiconductor-based laboratory as a freshman in spring 2017. He also has participated in summer research programs at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, where he is set to begin graduate studies this fall as a member of Cupola Era Professor of Chemistry Dr. Kwabena Bediako’s laboratory. In addition to a GEM Fellowship and an opportunity to intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that was postponed until next summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzalez also was awarded the Chancellor’s Fellowship at Berkeley and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
The John B. Beckham Award in Science was established in 1983 by friends and family of John Beckham in recognition of and appreciation for his 36 years of dedicated service to Texas A&M in teaching, counseling and administration. Award winners receive $1,000 and a commemorative medallion.
Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or [email protected]