The Norman Transcript

November 20, 2012

OU lauds scholarship winners

By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma can add to its lists of Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarship winners.

Mubeen A. Shakir of Oklahoma City is OU’s 29th Rhodes Scholar, Jerod Coker of McKinney, Texas, is OU’s sixth Marshall Scholar and Robin Tipps of Ardmore is OU’s first Mitchell Scholar.

“The university family is extremely proud of these three exceptional students who have achieved the highest level of academic recognition in our country,” OU President David L. Boren said. “To have OU students win in each of these scholarship competitions confirms that OU has become a pacesetter in American public higher education.”

As a Rhodes scholar, Shakir will attend Oxford University, England, for two years and pursue a master’s degree in oncology at Oxford University. Upon returning to the United States, he plans to attend medical school.

A biochemistry major, Shakir has a 3.95 grade-point average and will graduate summa cum laude next May. He has extensive research experience, the most recent as the inaugural participant in the President’s Research Mentorship Program that paired him with Pulitzer Prize-winning Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee of Columbia University Medical Center.

Shakir has conducted research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and in the Department of Pediatrics at the OU Health Sciences Center. A National Merit Scholar, Shakir also is one of two students to be named an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Presidential Scholar and was named Outstanding Senior of the OU College of Arts and Sciences.

As a Marshall scholar, Coker plans to attend the London School of Economics in England for two years and pursue a master’s degree in economics and philosophy, followed by a master’s degree in development studies. An economics major with minors in political science and philosophy, Coker has a 4.0 GPA and will graduate summa cum laude in May. Coker is a National Merit Scholar and an Oklahoma Regents Scholar.

A co-founder of the Oklahoma Microfinance Fund, Coker developed the program to assist small business entrepreneurs with obtaining loans and developing a business plan. His entrepreneurial experience includes serving as an associate at the Oklahoma Life Science Fund, where he communicates investment decisions with investors, and as a student assistant for OU’s vice president of strategic planning and economic development. Coker also is a teaching assistant for an OU entrepreneurship course.

As a Mitchell Scholar, Tipps — a 4.0 GPA student and National Merit Scholar — will attend National University Ireland, Galway, for a master’s degree in public law. He has studied at University College Cork in Ireland, where he said he learned “novel methods of caring for a population while preserving cultural and social traditions.”

Tipps will graduate summa cum laude next May with a degree in sociology-criminology. A member of the Quapaw tribe, Tipps plans to begin law school after his year in Ireland and then pursue a career as a tribal attorney.

The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international fellowships, bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholars are selected for two years of study at the University of Oxford, with the possibility of renewal for a third year. The scholarship covers all educational costs, such as matriculation, tuition, laboratory and certain other fees.

Up to 40 Marshall Scholarships are awarded annually to U.S. citizens who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree before beginning study overseas. Recipients may choose any institution in the United Kingdom for two, possibly three, years of graduate study. The scholarship covers university fees, cost-of-living expenses, books, research and daily travel grants, and fares to and from the United States. 

Established in 2001, the Mitchell Scholars Program honors former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell for his significant contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. Up to 12 Mitchell scholars are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Mitchell Scholars Program provides tuition, accommodations, a living expenses stipend and an international travel stipend.

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