Home Biological science Schmid College research students receive prestigious national scholarships

Schmid College research students receive prestigious national scholarships


Three undergraduate students from Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science and Technology have been selected for highly selective research fellowships.

Benjamin Janda ’23 says winning two prestigious grants validates his research into developing more sustainable chemical processes.

Chemistry major Benjamin Janda ’23 and biochemistry and molecular biology major Kevin Nguyen ’24 were among 417 college students nationwide to receive the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship supports outstanding students on track for outstanding research careers in the natural sciences, engineering or mathematics.

Additionally, Janda and chemistry major Ishaan Shah ’23 were selected as Beckman Fellows. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation program is a 15-month supervised research experience for outstanding students conducting research in chemistry, biological sciences, or biochemistry.

“It makes me incredibly proud of our students and our faculty to have two Goldwater Scholars and two Beckman Scholars in our college this year,” said Michael Ibba, Ph.D., Dean of Schmid College. “To see three of our nationally honored students speaks volumes about the fundamental research experiences we offer.

A separate Chapman Newsroom article details the journey of Nguyen, a first-generation student whose Chapman experience began in high school as a Simon STEM Scholar. Here we portray Janda and Shah.

Multiple scholarships are “a dream come true”

Benjamin Janda
Janda works in the lab of Allegra Liberman-Martin, Ph.D., studying organic catalysts.

Janda said he was honored to receive the Goldwater and Beckman fellowships, which validate his research project developing more sustainable chemical processes.

“Research is the activity I have enjoyed doing the most over the past year, and the fact that I can continue while being financially supported is a dream come true,” he said.

Janda works in the lab of Assistant Professor Allegra Liberman-Martin, Ph.D., studying organic catalysts that they hope will be more durable and cost-effective substitutes for precious metals.

Janda plans to pursue a doctorate. in organic chemistry for the purpose of carrying out research in total organic synthesis or pharmaceutical sciences.

Treating Symptoms of Severe Asthma

Ishaan Shah '23
The Ishaan Shah Beckman Fellowship provides 15 months of supervised research experience.

Shah began his research journey during his freshman year at Chapman observing students in the upper division of the LaRue Catalysis Laboratory. His research with Assistant Professor Jerry LaRue, Ph.D., has focused on improving the energy efficiency of hydrocarbon-based fuels.

Now Shah is looking forward to advancing his own research in photochemistry to treat the symptoms of severe asthma, a condition he has lived with for seven years.

Through the Beckman Scholars program, Shah will target symptoms related to greenhouse gas emissions.

Shah plans to pursue a doctoral program in photochemistry after earning his Chapman undergraduate degree.