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Oklahoma State University

13 OSU undergraduate researchers earn prestigious Niblack scholarship

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pictured are the 2017-18 Niblack Research Scholars. (front row, L to R) Dr. John Niblack, Victoria Pickens, Jeffrey Krall, Taylor Walton, Caroline Graham. (second row, L to R) Kassidy Ford, Emily Gietzen, Rendi Rogers, Savannah Morris, Grace Ogden. (back row, L to R) Erin Heilman, Matthew Hart, Kylie Hagerdon, Heidi Niblack, Sage Becker, OSU V. P. for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell.

Top Oklahoma State University undergraduate students have been selected as Niblack Research Scholars. The 13 recipients earn $8,000 scholarships and the opportunity to conduct supervised research.

Dr. John Niblack and his wife, Heidi, have funded the Niblack Research Scholars program at OSU for 14 years. The program allows undergraduates to perform cutting-edge research in various fields. During the award presentation, Niblack commended the students for their scientific interests in a time when “disillusionment with science is growing.”

“It takes years of dedication and perseverance to be a scientist, and it’s not easy,” Niblack said. “It’s fun for Heidi and me to come to campus and watch the scholars in action. We love watching another generation of scientists move up to the front line.”

Niblack graduated from OSU in 1960 and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois before becoming vice chairman of Pfizer Inc. As a scientist for the international pharmaceutical giant, he was responsible for Pfizer's Global Research and Development Division, where he directed research into drugs for viral illnesses, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Niblack retired in 2002 and founded the Niblack Research Scholarship program in 2004.

The 2017-18 undergraduate Niblack Research Scholars cover a wide variety of research fields and came to OSU from across the United States. The 2017-18 scholars, areas of research and hometowns:

Sage Becker, animal science

Keota, Iowa

Kassidy Ford, microbiology

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Emily Gietzen, microbiology

Pryor, Okla.

Caroline Graham, microbiology

Midwest City, Okla.

Kylie Hagerdon, chemistry

Choctaw, Okla.

Matthew Hart, microbiology

Edmond, Okla.

Erin Heilman, geology

Third Lake, Ill.

Jeffrey Krall, integrative biology

Mission Viejo, Calif.

Savannah Morris, biochemistry

Stillwater, Okla.

Grace Ogden, plant and soil sciences

Muskogee, Okla.

Victoria Pickens, entomology and plant pathology

Sand Springs, Okla.

Rendi Rogers, microbiology

Adair, Okla.

Taylor Walton, integrative biology

Hot Springs, Ark.

More information about the Niblack Research Scholars program is available at

Story by Aubrie Bowlan

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