OMRF today welcomed 11 college students as 2012 Sir Alexander Fleming Scholars.
Chosen through a rigorous statewide selection process, the students will spend their summer working in OMRF labs on research projects ranging from immunology to cardiovascular disease. At the end of the summer, each scholar will write a paper and present the results of his or her project for OMRF’s scientific staff.
“It’s a summer tradition to open our doors to these undergraduates,” said OMRF’s Courtney Stevens, Fleming program coordinator. “They seem to supercharge the environment with their curiosity and questions. This is a pivotal time in their lives, and we do all we can to help them find their true calling.”
For Fleming Scholar Christina Hansen, an Oklahoma City University sophomore from Edmond, this summer at OMRF will help her move beyond a mere love of science. “As much as I enjoy reading about scientific research, more than anything, I want to be part of the process.”
The scholars, who were selected from 100 applicants, will work with their scientist-mentors on projects ranging from lupus to cancer to heart disease. They will learn new laboratory skills, hear lectures by OMRF researchers and have the opportunity to interact with scientists working in a wide variety of disciplines.
Scholar Jeremy Madison, a Choctaw High School graduate and junior at Colorado Christian University, said that the Fleming program “makes an impact” and that it helps students “separate themselves from their peers by doing more than what is expected.” He hopes the experience will help him decide on a career path.
Since it was founded in 1956, the Fleming Scholar Program has provided more than 500 Oklahoma students with a hands-on experience in medical research. Many Fleming alumni have gone on to establish successful careers in medicine or research, including two OMRF scientists: Rodger McEver, M.D., and Judith James, M.D., Ph.D.
2012 Durant High School graduate and Fleming Scholar Michaela Metts looks forward to the chance to do research under the guidance of internationally respected scientists. “I am majoring in biochemistry at Southeastern Oklahoma State University this fall, and I believe this program will get me off to the right start.”
More information about the Fleming Scholar Program is available at omrf.org/fleming.