Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Barbara Stoecker

All the world is now health conscious, and the wellspring of healthy populations is knowledge of nutrients and access to them. Barbara Stoecker of Oklahoma State University has spent her lifetime investigating nutrients that positively affect human health, and her teaching and research have been nationally and internationally recognized. Born in Atchison, Kansas, Dr. Stoecker earned a B.S. in Home Economics from Kansas State University, then in 1970 a Ph.D. in Nutrition from Iowa State University, the institution where she did postdoctoral work from 1977 to 1978. She worked for several years in the 1970s in Bangkok, Thailand, and then received a teaching position as Associate Professor at Texas Tech University. Oklahoma State hired her as an associate professor in 1987, and she became a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in 1990. She acted as Head of her Department between 1993 and 2003, except for one year in which she served as the Interim Associate Dean in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. She remains a professor in the department, and now occupies the Marilynn Thoma Chair in Human Sciences. Her work on the nutritional effects of various trace elements has been extensive and technical. She has produced 91 refereed articles on such topics in her career, most dealing with important health issues in the nation and world, such as diabetes and micronutrient deficiencies, and in doing so she has obtained research grants totaling several million dollars. Since 2006 much of her research has concentrated on the nutritional needs of the people of Ethiopia, and her studies have shown that zinc deficiencies may stunt the cognitive development of children. Her studies have gained wide recognition in Africa, and she has been instrumental in helping nations there develop curricula for graduate students. She has as well served the professional organizations in her field, acting as a panel member for the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, a reviewer for USDA research grants, and serving as the Chair of the Research Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Teaching has not been ignored. She has directed 18 Ph.D. and 42 Masters students. And in her work as teacher, the students have voted her one award after another. For these accomplishments she earned the Lela O'Toole Outstanding Research Award (1992), the Margueritte Scruggs Outstanding Research Award (2000), the Oklahoma Distinguished Dietitian Award (2000), a Regents Professor selection in 2002, the OSU International Education Faculty Excellence Award (2008), and the OSU Eminent Faculty Award (2008); she became the holder of the Marilynn Thoma Chair in Human Sciences in 2010. For her accomplishments in the field of nutritional science, recognized nationally and internationally, the Heritage Society proudly inducts Barbara Stoecker into the 2016 Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.