It was natural for Emily Fry to become a scholar at Oklahoma State University, where her parents are both leaders. Her mother, Pamela, is OSU-Stillwater’s vice provost, and OSU-Tulsa’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Her father, Don, is director of technology for the College of Education, Health and Aviation.
Fry recently completed her biological science/pre-health degree, earning significant honors for her accomplishments, including recognition as one of the OSU Alumni Association’s 15 Outstanding Seniors and as a College of Arts and Sciences Top 10 Senior.
She was raised in Stillwater, where she grew up with a love for the OSU community. She began as a psychology major and a research scholar at the OSU REACH Lab under Dr. Misty Hawkins, studying maternal excess adiposity—a condition of being overweight or obese—and its effects on breastfeeding. She was a Wentz Scholar her sophomore year and focused her research on provider support and intervention possibilities on breastfeeding and how maternal adiposity affects breastfeeding success.
“Emily Fry is the ideal young scholar,” Hawkins said. “She is an intellectual powerhouse but also interpersonally effective and kind. She embodies the mission of a land-grant university like OSU.”
Hawkins added, “She was also the only undergraduate that I selected to work on my weight-loss trial that was funded by the National Institutes of Health, where she was trained in how to perform neuropsychological testing, electrocardiogram and blood pressure assessment, and take anthropometric measures. She was stellar.”
Fry quickly discovered her interest in anatomy and physiology through the courses she took.
“I’ve always had an interest in psychology, but I really saw myself enjoying a career in health care and physical therapy specifically,” Fry said. “Being in different labs helped me apply that information from class, and the applied setting made me realize what I’d really like to do.”
Dr. Noha Youssef, a microbiology professor, worked closely with Fry during her undergraduate research career.
“Emily never fails to impress me,” Youssef said. “She’s insightful and meticulous. She was responsible for the analysis of a group of microbial genomes belonging to a previously unrecognized bacterial phylum. She worked individually as well as in a small group to explore various aspects of her genomes.”
Youssef added, “She was a very dedicated student who has never missed a session. I have no doubts she will excel anywhere she goes.”
On top of the hefty class workload and research lab hours, Fry was also a member of the OSU Pom Squad.
“Being a student-athlete for the past four years has been something I really valued and appreciated,” Fry said. “I also viewed it as a big responsibility, and it’s been an honor to represent OSU in a different domain other than academically through research.”
She committed the majority of her time to studying and research. Her hard work paid off when she had a chance of a lifetime, shadowing researchers in Cambridge.
“I shadowed at the Cancer Research Center of the Cambridge Institute under Dr. Richard Gilbertson, a world-leading pediatric oncology researcher,” she said. “It was incredible. I saw things that I had only read about in my textbook and learned about in my classes.”
She also had the chance to be a manuscript reviewer on a breastfeeding study. Fry has two publications: one focuses on breastfeeding and one in The Journal of Systematics and Applied Microbiology.
Fry is attending Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in June. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in a health-related field and continue her research.