Summer In D.C.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Biomedical engineering major Nolen Keeys is spending his second summer in a row in Washington, D.C., through a prestigious program for scholars with the Institute for Responsible Citizenship. But instead of being in a hospital, this summer the aspiring orthopedic surgeon will be working with famous football players.
The institute has placed Keeys, a Maryland native, with the NFL Players Association Trust, a comprehensive wellness program for former professional footballers. "It's a different experience I'm getting exposed to, which is really nice, because it prepares me for medical school in more than just one field of medicine," says Keeys, who interned at Howard University Hospital's orthopedics department last year.
Keeys was one of only 12 students selected by the Institute for Responsible Citizenship last year for its two-year leadership development program for promising black male college students. Participants are housed at George Washington University, placed in internships, and also attend workshops and seminars and meet privately with government and civic leaders. Last year's group met with U.S. Rep. John Lewis and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Building friendships with the other scholars is one of the program's highlights, Keeys says. He is looking forward to getting to know the new cohort — particularly Joshua Howard, a student at Middlebury College and the son of RMU President Chris Howard.
"His father's an amazing guy and I'm sure that that's rubbed off on his son," Keeys says, adding that the supportive network is sure to appeal to the new scholars. "I felt when I came there would be a lot of competition, sizing people up around you, but when I got there it wasn't like that at all. I was rooming with a guy from Yale who majored in molecular biology, and he was the most personable guy I ever met in my life and is one of my best friends now."