"To say that Craig will have a future as a successful scientist for me is a true 'no-brainer."

– Paul D. Adams, McLean's honors thesis adviser and an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 

Fulbright College Chemistry and Mathematics Major Awarded Two National Fellowships

Fulbright College Chemistry and Mathematics Major Awarded Two National Fellowships

by Andra Liwag

Undergraduate senior honors chemistry and mathematics major Craig McLean recently received not one, but two prestigious national fellowships, one from the National Science Foundation and a second from the National GEM Consortium.

"Craig is the first honors undergraduate researcher I've worked with who took basic skills in protein biochemistry that he learned in my laboratory and applied them to the development of his own original research project," said Paul D. Adams, McLean's honors thesis adviser and an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program. "I found this to be remarkable to say the least!"

Adams said McLean's selection as a fellowship recipient in the 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program was based upon his demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. His fellowship period will last five years, with financial support provided for three years.

McLean was also chosen as a 2016 GEM Full Fellow by the National GEM Consortium, whose mission is "to enhance the value of the nation's human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups at the master's and doctoral levels in engineering and science."

Adams said the honors thesis he advised McLean on was titled, "Isolation and Characterization of Iron Binding Ligands from Marine Bacteria," and that the research McLean conducted to complete the thesis made him an excellent candidate for both fellowships.  

"Craig, without a doubt, grasped the concept of 'independent and critical thought' more so than any student his age that I have encountered in my time on the chemistry and biochemistry faculty at the University of Arkansas," Adams said.

In addition to being a dedicated student and scientist, Adams said, McLean also helps others and often brought classmates into the lab so they could work on a problem together.

"This is the true essence of intellectual collegiality, which will no doubt aid in his continued success during his graduate and post-graduate experiences," Adams said. "To say that Craig will have a future as a successful scientist for me is a true 'no-brainer.'"

McLean's next steps include an internship with Pacific Northwest National Lab in Richland, Washington, this summer as part of his GEM fellowship. While there, McLean will be working in soil microbiology metabolomics. He will also begin his doctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this upcoming fall.


Andra Liwag

About the author

Andra Liwag serves as director of communications for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.