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Local News

March 16, 2014

Allen receives OMRF research fellowship

DUNCAN — Sam Allen is one of 12 2014 Sir Alexander Fleming scholars offered a research fellowship by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Allen, a Duncan High School senior, is one of only four Fleming scholars in the state this year to be a high school student and the only Fleming scholar to be from Stephens County. Through the fellowship, Allen will spend eight weeks between June and July working with the OMRF.

“I’ve wanted to do research,” Allen said. “This is what I want to do through college and my career.”

Allen has life goals set, including become a neurosurgeon. He has been active in the Red River Technology Center’s biomedical program since joining the program during the 2012-13 school year. He has volunteered at Duncan Regional Hospital and was an intern for Dr. Ché Miller.

He is working on a Capstone project, which has given him more experience in a lab setting. He said the experiences he’s had have prepared him for the research fellowship, which he hopes will make him more appealing to prestigious colleges and universities.

“I really think this will help get me into the programs I want to get into,” Allen said.

Allen has five colleges he waiting to hear back from, the first being John Hopkins.

Each of the 12 scholars selected this year will be divided among various projects at OMRF. Each will have a specific project to work on during their eight weeks with the foundation.

The project topics will range from autoimmune disease to cancer and heart disease. Each scholar will give a presentation at the end of the eight weeks, outlining their research to the OMRF’s staff.

Since the program’s inception in 1956, more than 500 Oklahoma students have received Fleming fellowships. In a press release from OMRF, program coordinator Carlisa Curry said the program is challenging, but the rewards will greatly outweigh the obstacles.

“This unique program provides a close-up look at medical research and a career in the sciences,” Curry said. “It’s an intense and challenging experience, but many scholars find new scientific areas to explore and new career options open up to them as a result of their time at OMRF. They might miss some time by the pool, but the rewards are definitely worth it.”

Allen said the experience will be similar to a job, but he’s excited for the opportunity. He said the program will start roughly a week after his high school graduation.

“I’m ready to go right now,” Allen said.

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