Former Lakewood Student Named a Beckman Scholar
- Student: Christian Cerda-Smith
- School: Miami University
- Class/grade: Senior
- Award: Beckman Scholarship
A Lakewood native is one of two Miami University students who recently was named a Beckman Scholar.
As part of the award, Christian Cerda-Smith, a senior biochemistry and zoology double major, will conduct research with their faculty mentors this summer and next and through the intervening academic year.
The other student, Dirk Auman, is from Reynoldsburg.
Cerda-Smith and Auman each received $19,300 in scholarship money.
Cerda-Smith, a graduate of Lakewood High School, has been conducting independent study research with Michael Novak, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, since his second semester at Miami.
“The project he works in involves the synthesis and chemical characterization of the likely metabolite responsible for the antitumor activity of a class of benzothiazole-derived drugs that are currently under development,” Novak said in a statement.
“It appears from his work, and that of other researchers in my group, that the activity of these benzothiazole-based drugs depends on their ability to generate selective nitrenium ions. During the fall of 2011 Christian began product studies on his compounds that are essential to our understanding of the detailed chemistry of these drugs.”
According to a press release from Miami University, Cerda-Smith is a member of the university honors program, and a mentor for both the Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (URM) program and the Chemistry Scholars program (both National Science Foundation-funded programs directed toward underrepresented/underserved students who major in selected STEM fields).
“Christian is self-motivated and a quick learner,” Novak said. “He has had considerable success because he is willing to put in the time to get his work done.”