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Grant to foster student research in chemistry

You open doors to special learning opportunities

Jeffrey Beck

Jeffrey S. Beck '84. Photo by Janice Rubin, courtesy of ExxonMobil.


Jeffrey S. Beck '84 made such a difference in people's lives that when he died in 2012 at age 49, his wife, Lisa C. Beck, felt compelled to ensure his legacy of helping others lived on.

She recently established the Jeffrey S. Beck Summer Research Grant to honor her late husband and support students studying chemistry, Jeff 's major when he was at Binghamton University.

"He had such an amazing career," Lisa says. "Going to Binghamton as an undergrad is really what started everything."

Students gain a valuable head start if they can obtain research experience as undergraduates before they enter the workforce or graduate school, says Lisa, founder of Insight Factory LLC, a consumer research consulting company in Houston.

But often, students have to work in the summer to help pay for college unless a donor can step in and bridge the gap, says Wayne Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry.

A Beck grant recipient will receive support to conduct research for 10 weeks and a fellowship stipend to offset summer living expenses, Jones says.

The recipient will also have access to professional development activities by participating in the cohort of students in Jones' Research Experiences for Undergraduates, a program of the National Science Foundation. At the end of the summer, the student will present his or her work at an undergraduate summer research showcase.

"Hopefully, their research will lead them to become more involved in STEM careers which have been identified as a New York state and national need," Jones says.

About Jeffrey S. Beck '84

Beck is remembered by his family as being a "vibrant ball of fire with the dedication and intellect to make an ever lasting impact in our society." He has also been described as a creative and prolific inventor, inspirational leader, valuable mentor, and renowned scientist and engineer in his field.

His career began at Mobil's Central Research Laboratory, immediately after earning his doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.

He went on to lead ExxonMobil's corporate strategic research and had several assignments in the business, including technical manager at the Baytown Refinery in Texas and polyethylene global marketing manager.

Throughout his career, he contributed to the discovery and commercialization of novel catalysts and processes for the production of key petrochemicals and clean fuels. He received numerous national and international awards and authored nearly 75 U.S. patents.

Last Updated: 1/20/17