Nathan Herndon and Dawson Haworth were among 13 students chosen statewide for the program, named after British scientist Sir Alexander Fleming. The program was founded in 1956 as a way to give Oklahoma high school and college students hands-on biomedical research experience. It attracts as many as 100 applicants each year.
Fleming scholars work in state-of-the-art biomedical research laboratories on individual projects and are supervised by senior members of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation staff. They work at OMRF for eight weeks, typically in June and July. Scholars attend weekly seminars and social events. On the final day of the program, they give formal scientific seminars outlining the findings of their projects.
In 1982 the Fleming Scholar Program became a model for a national program funded by the federal government.