“Awesome” Alumni Achievements

Here are highlights of just a few of the many outstanding OSSM alumni/alumnae who are making a difference in our state, our nation and around the world . . .

Harvey Mudd Physics Major Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship
April 25, 2022 (College News; Harvey Mudd College,

Albany Blackburn ’23 [ OSSM Class of 2019 (Nardin, Deer Creek-Lamont HS)], a Harvey Mudd College physics major, is the recipient of a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious national award for undergraduate STEM researchers. The award for undergraduate U.S. sophomores and juniors covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. This year, 417 scholarships were awarded from a candidate pool of 5,000 U.S. sophomores and juniors.

Nominated by faculty mentors, Blackburn is interested in pursuing a career in academia, teaching physics and doing research at the university level. She is doing research with physics professor Brian Shuve to demonstrate that their proposed search method has high potential to find dark matter particles in particle collider experiments. “Our method involves reconstructing the decays of long-lived particles, which gives us high sensitivity to a wide range of possible dark matter models,” says Blackburn.

She has also conducted research with HMC engineering professor Leah Mendelson and Texas A&M University professor Jeremy Holt. With Mendelson, she wrote code to calibrate a camera array used for particle image velocimetry. With Holt, she used machine learning techniques to calculate the nuclear equations of state for neutron stars.

Outside of academics, Blackburn is a residential life mentor, works as an Academic Excellence physics tutor and helps plan student activities as a member of the Division of Student Affairs Muchachos.

After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school to earn a PhD in particle physics.

About the Goldwater Scholarship

The scholarship program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. All Harvey Mudd sophomores and juniors are eligible to compete for the Goldwater Scholarship, which is awarded on the basis of academic merit. The HMC Department Chairs Committee nominates up to four students annually.

“OSSM gave me ability and confidence in college that opened doors I would never have gotten to explore otherwise. I was able to learn metal machining and rowed on crew while taking a full engineering load. Even with 18 credit hours, my first two semesters were a breeze because of my OSSM academics…. OSSM was a gigantic piece in the arch of my life. It was hard, extremely hard. OSSM taught me time management, working with people and general life skills that would aid me through the rest of my life.”

~ Nathan Seidle, OSSM Class of 2000 (Jenks H.S.), Owner, SparkFun Electronics

B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, 2004

“OSSM provided me with academic challenge not available at my home rural high school and taught me study skills that helped me succeed in college and medical school.” 

Lara Whittington Mashek, M.D., OSSM Class of 1995 (Dale H.S.), Hospitalist, Unity Health Center, Shawnee

B.A. Music (Minor Biology), Oklahoma Baptist University, 1999

M.D., University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, 2003

Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, M.D., Ph.D., FAAPMR, OSSM Class of 1997 (Muskogee H.S.), Palliative Medicine specialist doing cutting edge research in pain management for cancer patients

B.S. Chemistry and B.A. Philosophy, University of California-Berkeley, 2001

Ph.D. Medical Geography, University of Washington, 2008

M.D. Medicine, University of Washington, 2010

“Although I had challenging opportunities before OSSM, it was at OSSM that I found my first community of people who thrived and celebrated the challenges.  From studying together each weeknight to celebrating college admissions, it was the first time for most of us to be around others who also delighted in developing our minds, both students and teachers.” 

~David Purdy, OSSM Class of 1995 (OKC, Northeast H.S.), Head of Data Science, Special Projects, Apple

B.S. Mathematics, Harvard University, 1999

Ph.D. Statistics, University of California-Berkeley, 2009

“OSSM prepared me for a petroleum engineering undergraduate program, helped me start my first semester of college as a sophomore and helped me have a higher GPA after that first semester.  The recognition OSSM has within the oil & gas industry set me up for internship offers over my classmates as freshman and continued to factor into decisions for sophomore and junior internships.  I’m proud to say I am one of only a handful of students at the University of Tulsa to start my senior year with a full-time job offer, even as the oil and gas industry is in the valley of a cycle!  I do not think I could be in the position I am in now without my early exposure and connections to the oil & gas industry made possible through the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.”

Tyler Carter, OSSM Class of 2012 (Tulsa, Charles Page H.S.), Production Engineer, Devon Energy (Aug 2016)

B.S. Petroleum Engineering, University of Tulsa, 2016

“I attended OU, and so was able to transfer credits for all of my Calculus taken at OSSM, plus some Physics and Chemistry.  I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering, and only had to take one math class in college!  I am positive that the work ethic we all developed at OSSM contributed to my success in college, as well as in my career with BNSF Railway.  Any workload less than what we had at OSSM seems easy!  My OSSM days have had other impacts on my adult life too – chief among them, my enduring friendships with some of my classmates.  To this day, I have maintained close friendships from my OSSM class.

I think my mental organization strategies were developed at OSSM, and one of the things that makes me successful in my career is my ability to organize my work load and prioritize it, as well as to evaluate what processes are truly necessary versus those that are not.  I apply logic learned at OSSM every day on my job.

I doubt I would have pursued Engineering, and had I not I certainly would not be where I am today.  I did come from a good school district and may still have gone into a science or math related field, but OSSM gave me more confidence in those disciplines.

It’s hard to imagine what path I would have taken had I not attended OSSM.  I think the biggest thing I gained from my experience, besides an outstanding education, is confidence in myself and my abilities.  One thing’s for sure – I would not be the same person I am today if I had not had the opportunity given to me by OSSM.”

~ Jennifer Davis Lee, OSSM Class of 1993 (Edmond North Mid-High), Mechanical Engineer, Manager of Facility Development, BNSF Railway Co.

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, 1997

 “OSSM was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a wonderful place packed with passionate students, professors, and an atmosphere ripe with intellectual vigor.”

~ Sooraj BoominathanOSSM Class of 2015 (Edmond, Deer Creek H.S.), Silver Medalist, International Chemistry Olympiad, 2015

(went on to study Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

“OSSM showed me what was possible.  I was taught at home and at my home high school of Dover that anything was possible, but I didn’t fully understand what ‘anything’ entailed until I attended OSSM.  Now I have the unique privilege of working at the bottom of the Earth.”

Shelly Finley, OSSM Class of 1993 (Dover H.S.), Science and Technical Project Services Supervisor – South Pole, Antarctic

Support Contract-Lockheed Martin

B.S. in Physics-Space Science (Chemistry & Math Minors), Northwestern State University of Louisiana, 1999

M.S. in Physics (Chemical Engineering Minor), University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2001

“At my local high school there was not a lot of opportunity for advanced classes.  When I was a student [at OSSM], we definitely helped each other get through.  [OSSM] helped me become a better student. . . and it really helped prepare me for what level of science education I would have in college and for dental school, as well.”

~Marty Scantlen, DDS, OSSM Class of 1997 (Thackerville H.S.), Chickasaw Nation

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Dartmouth

D.D.S., OU College of Dentistry

“OSSM undoubtedly set me on a most unexpected but absolutely incredible path: one I never imagined.  Now, it’s the only path I could have ever wished to take and can’t envision any other.  I remain most grateful to the incredible professors and staff, whose passion for education, expertise, professionalism, and kindness know no parallel.  Similarly, I am delighted to know and hold friendships with my fellow students, who are some of the most amazing people and greatest minds I have had the distinct privilege to encounter.

Capt. Joy Lomheim, OSSM Class of 2006 (Life Christian Academy, OKC)

B.S. Foreign Area Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy, 2010

M.A. International Relations, University of Oklahoma, 2013

U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer serving in Europe

“OSSM was the foundation of [my] success and, frankly, was probably tougher than anything I’ve done since then.  At that age, at 16, you don’t really know how to push yourself and how far you can go, and the faculty and all the staff here. . . They impart a lot of knowledge but they also teach students how to thrive and succeed and that was one of the keys to my success for sure.”

~ Matthew Bray, OSSM Class of 1995 (Muldrow H.S.), Mechanical Engineer, Attorney

B. S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Tulsa, 1999

J. D. Law, Harvard University, 2006

Jan 2021 - Check out fascinating article co-authored by Ph.D. candidate Annie Stephenson, OSSM Class of 2011 (Classen SAS, OKC), on the physics of color in birds' plumage in this month's Physics Today. stephenson, annie article Physics Today jan 2021

Oct 2019 - Congratulations to Class of 2018 alumna Khayla Black (Bartlesville H.S.) for her winning essay (academic category) in Neuroethics submitted to the International Neuroethics Society as an undergrad student at New York University Shanghai.  Her essay is titled:  CNS Intervention in the Courtroom:  An Ethical Evaluation of the Rehabilitative Potential of SSRIs."  Kudos, Khayla!!!
Apr 2018 - Class of 1997 alumnus Mario White (McAlester, Parker Mid-High School) was named Dane County (WI) County Court Commissioner.  Congratulations, Mario!!!  See story HERE.
Apr 2018 - Kudos to chemical engineer Gregg Beckham, Ph.D. (OSSM Class of 1998, Maysville H.S.) who was in the news for some of his exciting work at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory on an enzyme that shows promise for breaking down plastic waste!  See more HERE.
March 2018 - Casey Cai (Class of 2014) was awarded a Fulbright grant to work at the Queen Wilhelmina Institute for Pediatric Oncology in the Netherlands starting this September.  She will be doing research on the genetics and bio-statistics of certain childhood cancers.  To receive this prestigious award is a great accomplishment--Kudos, Casey!!
Aug 2017 - Congratulations to software developer Nate Wakefield (OSSM Class of 2014, Tishomingo H.S.), now Founder & CEO of Wakefield Technological Endeavors, LLC in Tishomingo!  Way to go and very best wishes!!
Apr 2017 - Dr. Michael Henderson (OSSM Class of 2007, Dale H.S.) was highlighted on as he attended the recent BioVenture Forum at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where he was formerly a Fleming Scholar.  He and many of his fellow OSSM alums are hitting home runs in business in Oklahoma and around the country and are looking to bring more business to Oklahoma!  See more about Michael's story!
Nov 2016 - Alumnus Ryan Dennis, MD (OSSM Class of 2001, Macomb H.S.), is profiled in i2I, Inc.'s Fall edition of their magazine i & E for his new medical technology innovation, a break-away IV line.  Kudos to Dr. Dennis for reducing pain and potential injury for patients undergoing healthcare treatments and improving their experience and outcomes!
Sep 2016 - OSSM Class of 2013 grad Brianna Brown (Jenks H.S.) just started an awesome new job with Sesame Street as Creative Content Production Intern!!  Congratulations and best wishes, Brianna!
Jul 2015 - Sandra Fernandez (OSSM Class of 2011, Tulsa Union H.S.) offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Spain in Biology
May 2015 - Geoffrey Beach, Ph.D. (OSSM Class of 1993, Ft. Gibson H.S.) is tenured in MIT's School of Engineering! (Linked article Reprinted with permission of MIT News.)  The Class of 1958 Career Development Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, he studies the behavior of magnetic — or “spintronic” — materials and structures, with an interest in new spin-based concepts in data storage, computing, and nanomedicine, and the fundamental materials properties to enable these technologies. His activities include materials growth, nanoscale patterning, advanced instrumentation development, and a variety of characterization techniques supported by numerical simulations.
May 2015 - See Alice Pinney’s blog (OSSM Class of 2015, Jenks H.S.) about her senior mentorship experience with GE Global Research helping explore new ways to frack!

“I was originally part of the class of 2008, but my parents and I had to move away to Canada after junior year due to immigration reasons.  A recent conversation with a friend on the topic of competitive schools in California prompted me to think back to the wonderful year I spent at OSSM and how it helped me get to where I am today.  In retrospect, I really appreciated that OSSM

  • fosters a small, close-knit group of intellectually curious students,
  • encourages students to be independent away from their families, and
  • offers advanced courses taught by essentially college-level professors.

The social ladder was driven by intellect rather than popularity at OSSM, unlike any other school I have attended (including Princeton).  It’s where I learned that it was OK to be smart and pursue my interests, rather than worrying about fitting in. I’m really glad that I found this oasis.  Thank you.”

Zhao Yang Xu, Software Engineer, Google