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Niblack Scholars dive into undergraduate research

niblack scholars resizedThe Niblack Research Scholars program at Oklahoma State University has opened the doors of cutting-edge research for undergraduates for 13 years. This year, 14 OSU undergraduate students are receiving $8,000 scholarships and the opportunity to conduct supervised research as 2016-17 Niblack Research Scholars. The annual program is funded by OSU alumnus John Niblack and his wife, Heidi Niblack.

At the recent presentation of research from 2015-16 scholars, Niblack listed a number of personal qualities leading to success that he recognized in the careers of current Nobel prize winners.

“One of the scientists began his studies when he was 23 years old and only dared to enter his almost uninhabited field at the time because he didn’t know much about it and didn’t have any preconceived notions about what could or could not be done. He just dived in,” Niblack said. “So now you know the secrets of success in science – join areas where few have traveled; don’t worry, just dive in; don’t give up easily; be young; and most important of all, get lucky.”

Niblack graduated from OSU in 1960 and, after graduate studies, become a scientist and then vice chairman of Pfizer Inc., the international pharmaceutical giant. He retired in 2002 and founded the Niblack Research Scholarship in 2004.

The 2016-17 undergraduate Niblack Research Scholars include students in a wide variety of research fields who came to OSU from across the United States and even the world.

The scholars, hometowns and areas of research:



Alicia Aguilar, microbiology

Karley Washburn, nutritional sciences


Madison Krehbiel, nutritional sciences


Garret Boren, biochemistry


Amanda Demackiewicz, biochemistry


Kaitlyn Dudley, integrative biology


Charith DeSilva, physics

Indah Merkel, mechanical & aerospace engineering

Nicholas Nelsen, mechanical & aerospace engineering


William Starr, microbiology


Fort Smith

Field Watts, chemistry



Beata Mackenroth, microbiology



Zachary Helms, physiological sciences


Woong Hee Cho, biochemistry

More information about the Niblack Research Scholars program is available at