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Oklahoma State University

Undergraduate Niblack scholars jump-start careers in the laboratory

The Niblack Research Scholars program at Oklahoma State University has opened the doors of cutting-edge research for undergraduates for more than a decade. This year, 14 OSU undergraduate students are receiving $8,000 scholarships and the opportunity to conduct supervised research as 2015-16 Niblack Research Scholars. The annual program is funded by OSU alumnus John Niblack, who wants to jumpstart the careers of future scientists through the experience of conducting actual research.

“It’s fun to see kids learn during hands-on research just how difficult it is to produce the smallest granule of data that’s of any use. It’s a big experience for them,” said Niblack, who said he had a similar experience as an OSU undergraduate that changed the course of his career. “Undergraduate research convinced me that I wanted to become a professional scientist because it was such a thrill to perform new experiments that no one else had ever done before.”

Niblack went on to become a scientist and then vice chairman of Pfizer Inc., the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company.

“This is something totally different than anybody has done before and especially as an undergraduate because the average undergraduate doesn’t get to do this.” said Rachel Davis, a chemical engineering major from Fort Smith, Arkansas, who is in her second year as a Niblack scholar. “Working in a research setting, we’re trying to make new knowledge and publish new information that could help people all over the world.”

The 2015-16 Niblack Research Scholars, and their areas of research, are:

David Bradt, entomology, Oxford, Connecticut.

Jacey Brooks, zoology, Archer City, Texas.

Anna Condacse, chemical engineering, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Joseph Crook, biosystems and agricultural engineering, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rachel Davis, chemical engineering, Fort Smith, Ark.

Nicholas Foster, mechanical and aerospace engineering, Edmond, Oklahoma.

Tyler Goldsmith, chemical engineering, Texarkana, Texas

Erica Goodenow, nutritional sciences, Perry, Oklahoma.

Alexis Gullic, animal science, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ashley Hadwiger, physiological sciences, Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Logan Kunka, mechanical and aerospace engineering, Owasso, Oklahoma.

Dominic Martin, physiological sciences, Bangor, Maine

Hannah Paradis, animal science, Corinna, Maine

Ashley Simenson, biochemistry, Howard Lake, Minn.

Videos about the students and more information is available at

Niblack founded the research scholars program in 2004. He worked for Pfizer as a scientist from 1967 to 1980, directing research into drugs for viral illnesses, cancer and autoimmune disorders.  He was appointed director of research for the company's U.S. laboratories in 1980 and named president of Pfizer's Central Research Division in 1990.  He became vice chairman in 1993 and retired in 2002.