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1998 - 1999 University Scholar
Mentor: Dinesh Shaw
College of Engineering
Chris Beach wasn't sure what to expect from the University Scholars Program. The junior
engineering major had worked in the business world, but never in the lab. And he had no
previous experience with contact lenses, though they would become the focus of his
research. But Beach jumped into the USP head first, and his enthusiastic approach has
paid off: he has been so inspired by his summer research that he has redirected his
career ambition toward work in the medical industry.
Academics aren't the only activity that Beach tackles with exuberance. He is also a
musician - he plays guitar, piano, sings, and regularly gigs in both a local jazz combo and
a rockabilly band. That band, the Dirty Dirt Devils, has been voted Gainesville's best
rockabilly group by Detours magazine. "I can't put one style totally aside when playing
the other," says Beach of his diverse interests. "I studied jazz theory for a number of
years, but I became captivated by rockabilly, which is really rock and roll in its rawest,
Beach, a graduate of Astronaut High School in Titusville and an American Mensa
Scholarship recipient, also enjoys writing fiction and poetry, but he admits his current
schedule doesn't leave him much time for those pursuits. His lack of free time hasn't
prevented him from making plans for the future, however. "When I get the space - and a
job - I would also like to get into the customization of classic automobiles . More
immediately, I'm planning some world travel when I get the chance I'd like to go to India
over Christmas break."
For the next few months, however, Beach will be focusing his energies on his research. "I
wanted to be exposed to the research side of academia. My work with Dr. Shah
(Medicine) has been inspiring. He is a living example of how a person can be both a
dreamer and a doer. The best advice he has given me is 'Go with Gusto.'" All indications
are that Beach is carefully following his mentor's recommendation.
Photo by Jane Gibson
Back to the Journal of Undergraduate Research
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