June 6, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
California State University, Bakersfield graduating chemistry student Brian Keene will receive a full scholarship to medical school and a commission into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant on Saturday (June 10) in a special ceremony in the university president's office immediately following the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics commencement.
Capt. Claudia Noyola of the Army Health Corps will come to Bakersfield from Pasadena to perform the swearing in ceremony.
"This is certainly a high honor for Brian and I would like to congratulate him for that," said Tom Meyer, interim dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "This reflects upon the quality of our programs here."
Keene originally came to CSUB in 2000 as a nursing major, but changed his focus to chemistry. "People have asked me why be a doctor, and I'd say that it is because I work with doctors every day and I like helping people," Keene said.
His background in the medical field is what he believes helped him get accepted into medical school. He served as a surgical technician while serving in the Army reserves and currently works at San Joaquin Hospital.
"It is quite an honor to receive this scholarship," Keene said. The scholarship will pay for his four years at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., and his four-year residency. He will owe the Army eight years of service after he completes medical school and his residency.
Keene also believes that his time and experience in the Army reserves helped him get into medical school. His father, who was involved in the military for 25 years, recommended that he join the Army reserves, and his mother wanted him to have an education. "My parents encouraged me to try different things."
Roy LaFever, CSUB chemistry professor and Keene's mentor, said that Keene is truly deserving of this scholarship. "He has excelled at CSUB while working nearly full time as a surgical technician and maintaining his Army reserve status," LaFever said. "His capabilities and determination, coupled with his commitment to the military, will allow him to become an outstanding physician and military officer. It has been a pleasure to work with him over his time at the university, and I'm particularly satisfied knowing he's achieving his goals."
Keene said his success is attributable to LaFever. "I had my first class as a freshman with Dr. LaFever, and my last class is with him. He has been my mentor had has steered me in the right direction."
Keene credits the CSUB faculty as well. The chemistry department and faculty have been supportive and have worked with his schedule while he was enlisted with the Army reserves. On several occasions, Keene had been pulled out of classes to perform his military duties. This was an ongoing struggle throughout his six years at CSUB.
Keene is from Idaho, but came to Bakersfield as a junior in high school. He graduated from Ridgeview High School. In his free time, Keene likes to be outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and running. He is looking forward to attending and completing medical school.