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Oklahoma State University

OSU senior named Truman Scholar

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Oklahoma State University senior Adrienne Blakey (above) has been named a Truman Scholar. She is the only student from an Oklahoma institution to receive the honor this year.

Oklahoma State University senior Adrienne Blakey was named a Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation on Wednesday, but it wasn’t the first time she heard the news. 

On April 9, she received a special video call from OSU President Burns Hargis, joined by faculty members and colleagues. It started like this: 

“How are you this morning, Adrienne? Burns Hargis here,” he said.  

“I’m good, how are you?” she said. 

“Well I’m fantastic because I have the great privilege and pleasure of telling you you’ve been selected as a Truman Scholar,” he said. “Congratulations. You’ve earned it, totally. And we’ve got a lot of people here that wanted to be a part of it.”  

Blakey covered her mouth in surprise but couldn’t hide a wide smile as the digital audience beamed with applause. 

“I see so many of my favorite people,” she said. “Thank you so much for surprising me like this.” 

Associate Dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture Dr. Cynda Clary congratulated Blakey on behalf of the college first, but added the kind of touching personal note that would be echoed throughout the call. 

“I am just so happy for you, on behalf of the college, but also just as an individual,” she said. “To know that this truly has been your journey and truly about you and your direction, it’s just [enough] to make me cry. I’m so pleased for you.” 

In addition to being a great honor for Blakey, this year’s only recipient from Oklahoma or any Oklahoma institution, Hargis said her Truman Scholar selection is a great honor for OSU. 

The Truman Scholarship is the premier U.S. graduate fellowship for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. Truman Scholars are recognized for their academic excellence, leadership capabilities and sustained campus and community service. Each year, the foundation reviews over 600 applications for up to 65 $30,000 scholarships. Serving as agents of change, Truman Scholars work in government, nonprofits, academia, research and health care.

Blakey is OSU’s 18th Truman Scholar. OSU was named a Truman Honor Institution in 2000 for encouraging its outstanding students to pursue careers in public service, promoting the scholarship and helping students earn the award. Four OSU students have been named Truman finalists in the past five years.

An Honors College senior in the Ferguson College of Agriculture, Blakey is pursuing dual degrees in plant and soil science with a concentration in agronomic business and another in agricultural communications. Blakey plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health and foresees a career using her foundational agronomic knowledge to improve nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified crops.

A graduate of Stillwater High School, Blakey has engaged in extensive research at OSU. She was a Freshman Research Scholar, studying the genetic and nutritional makeup of modern wheat with Dr. Brett Carver, Regents Professor and Wheat Genetics Chair in Agriculture. 

She continued her research as a Wentz Research Scholar, and she won a Niblack Scholarship in her junior year, addressing wheat functionality in the Department of Nutritional Sciences with Edralin Lucas and Brenda Smith. She has also taken part in the Oklahoma Scholar Leader Enrichment Program studying hunger-related issues. Her research projects have yielded four articles published in the "Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations." She is also the co-inventor of a released wheat variety with a USDA plant variety production certificate pending.

Blakey has used her research in combination with communication skills to serve as an advocate for agricultural research. She served as director of the Sustainability Committee for the Student Government Association, where she reinvigorated the campus recycling program, and she has been involved in the Ferguson College of Agriculture Student Council, Ferguson College Ambassadors and Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter. She has served as a member of the President’s Leadership Council and was OSU’s Homecoming Queen in 2019. She has coordinated the SGA Big 12 Conference and spent a week in Washington, D.C., meeting with legislators and promoting the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative.

Blakey also has pursued a variety of international study experiences. She participated in the 2018 summer Cambridge Scholars Program at Magdalene College in Cambridge, England. She has been a part of the Jeremiah Project, traveling to Guatemala to work with disadvantaged children and their families, and she studied agricultural education in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2019.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Sullins | Henry Bellmon Office of Scholar Development & Undergraduate Research director | jessica.sullins@okstate.edu | 405-744-7313

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