The University of Oklahoma has made history in student scholarship wins this year. For the first time in OU history, OU students have won the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships in the same year.
The three OU seniors, all College of Arts and Sciences and Honors students, selected to receive the major national scholarships are:
- Mubeen Shakir of Oklahoma City, who was named OU’s 29th Rhodes Scholar and one of only 32 nationwide;
- Jerod Coker of McKinney, Texas, was named a Marshall Scholar, OU’s sixth of one of only 40 awarded annually nationwide; and
- Robin Tipps of Ardmore, was named a Mitchell Scholar, the first OU student to win the award and one of only 12 nationwide.
“The University family is extremely proud of these three exceptional students who have achieved the highest level of academic recognition in our country,” said OU President David L. Boren. “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 holds 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 also 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.
He also is an intern at the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth, a member of Crimson Club, and a College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Scholar. A weekly volunteer at Manos Juntas free clinic in Oklahoma City, Shakir is a co-founder of Wishing Works, a nonprofit project to mentor and tutor underprivileged youth in Oklahoma. As an Honors College student, Shakir has served as treasurer for the Honors Student Association and has moderated several Honors reading groups.
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.
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 holds a 4.0 GPA and will graduate summa cum laude next 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 entrepreneurship course at OU.
An Honors College student, Coker has been instrumental in forming a current events discussion group as well as a documentary watch group for honors students. He also is a member of the Institute for American Constitutional Heritage Society of Fellows, the Ethics Debate team, and a volunteer at the Second Wind Non-Profit Coffeehouse in Norman.
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.
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 earlier studied at University College Cork in Ireland, where he says 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.
At OU, Tipps has been an instrumental member of the Integrity Council since joining the organization in 2010. As the senior vice chair of Investigations, he helped create, organize and implement one of the nation’s first student-run academic misconduct systems. As a senior councilor for the organization, he reviewed and adjudicated cases of academic misconduct, and as a peer educator, he mentored students enrolled in an innovative course for those charged with academic misconduct.
His community service includes working as a Henderson Scholar to raise funds at home football games for the Norman community Christmas dinners, volunteering in the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital, and serving as speech and debate judge at local, district and state competitions. In Norman, as a Sooner Scout for Prospective Student Services, he has conducted campus tours and met with students and families visiting OU, and he has volunteered as a collections assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. As a Jackie Robinson Scholar, he has traveled to New York City to help re-paint a recreation room in a housing tower and clean up a park.
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. Applicants are judged scholarship, leadership and a sustained commitment to community and public service.
The Mitchell Scholars Program provides tuition, accommodations, a living expenses stipend and an international travel stipend.