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Lauren Beach Named 2009 Point Scholar

JUNE 18, 2009—Lauren Beach, a student in the University of Minnesota's Joint Degree Program in Law, Health, & the Life Sciences, was recently selected as a 2009 Point Scholar. Only 11 undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate recipients nationwide were chosen for Point Scholarships from among nearly 2,500 applicants.

Point scholarships cover tuition, books, living expenses, and more and are set up with individual institutions to meet the needs of students of merit in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Recipient selection is a six-month process that involves an online application, submission of materials, a phone interview, and an in-person interview in San Francisco.

Beach, who is pursing a J.D. at the Law School with a health law and bioethics concentration, is simultaneously pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology & Genetics. She expects to complete both degrees in 2013. "Lauren is an outstanding student in the University of Minnesota’s Joint Degree Program," says Professor Susan Wolf, director of the program. "She will emerge a top expert in law and science, and will make a major contribution to the field."

Beach also received a Point scholarship in 2006 as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University. In working on a B.A. in social relations and policy and a B.S. in microbiology, she realized that an awareness of the social and political implications of their research is vital to effective scientists and decided to obtain an interdisciplinary education.

At Minnesota, Lauren attends law classes and works in Dr. Louis Mansky's lab investigating HIV drug development and resistance and the molecular evolution of retroviruses. She also serves as director on the board of four HIV- and LGBT-related nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities. After graduation, she hopes to use her skills as a science-educated attorney to help develop socially conscious policies for drug, food safety, and medical-device regulation.

"Lauren is yet another great example of a student at the Law School who juggles top-notch work in the classroom with a busy and varied schedule outside of it," says Professor William McGeveran, who taught Beach in his civil procedure class. "In her case, beyond working on her Ph.D., she also organized a domestic violence conference on campus and stayed involved in several political and LGBT activities. That diversity of experience will help her contribute even more to society and to the law."

Point Foundation, founded in 2001, is the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit. With the 2009 class, it has supported 140 individuals, not only financially but also with leadership training and mentoring. Point Foundation strives to provide Point Scholars with skills for a lifetime of exceptional leadership, in the LGBT community and across the world.

 
Portrait of Lauren Beach

Lauren Beach, a 2009 Point Scholar