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Members of the 2018-19 class of Niblack Research Scholars at Oklahoma State University with Dr. John and Heidi Niblack (left) and Vice President for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell and OSU President Burns Hargis (right).

Alumnus opens laboratory doors to student researchers

Friday, September 28, 2018

Oklahoma State University alumnus and scholarship benefactor Dr. John Niblack returned to the OSU campus Sept. 21 to meet the 15th class of undergraduate Niblack Research Scholars and evaluate research supported by his scholarships.
Each year, the retired chief scientist for pharmaceutical manufacture Pfizer Inc. visits OSU to meet the incoming class of Niblack scholars and hear the previous year’s students describe their research. Niblack and a faculty panel evaluate the presentations and quiz the student researchers about their projects in a learning exercise that scientists experience throughout their careers.
“All scientists are called on to present their research. You have to be able to get up and tell someone what your research is all about,” Niblack said. “Being able to speak as a scientist is an important skill you have to learn.”

Each year, more than a dozen top OSU undergraduates are selected as Niblack Research Scholars and receive $8,000 scholarships to conduct research mentored by OSU faculty. As an undergraduate student, Niblack said he decided on a career because of his inspiring experience as an OSU student researcher. He started the Niblack Research Scholars program to offer today’s students the same opportunity. Since the program’s 2004 founding, 186 students have been awarded scholarships made possible by Niblack and his wife, Heidi.
Niblack graduated from OSU in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and earned a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Illinois. He worked as a research scientist at Pfizer before rising through the company’s ranks to become executive vice chairman and president of the Global Research and Development division. Niblack retired in 2002.
This year, the division of the Vice President for Research selected 14 students as scholars for the 2018-19 school year.
Visit for program information and a list of 2018-19 scholars.

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