Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 27, 2018—Williams College student Keshav Goel ’19 is among the dozen men and women named as Mitchell Scholars for the class of 2020. Sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, this nationally competitive scholarship provides recipients a year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Selected from 370 applicants, Goel is the first Williams student to receive this scholarship since the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program’s inaugural class of 2001.
A double major in economics and biology from Monte Sereno, Calif., Goel is an aspiring physician who is interested in addressing the effects of socioeconomic inequity in the U.S. health care system, especially the impact on children. As a Mitchell Scholar, he plans to study immunology and global health at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. “I am convinced that public health care and evidence-based medicine in Ireland will inform me of how to implement similar models back in the U.S.,” Goel says. “I believe society can close the gap in youth health outcomes, and I intend to be part of that change.”
The Mitchell Scholarship program was created by the founder and president of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, Trina Vargo, and is named in honor of Senator George Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Sponsors of the program include Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, and the American Ireland Fund. Mitchell Scholars will begin their studies in Ireland in September 2019.
“As a Californian, Williams College taught me to embrace a brand-new environment and culture with an open mind and to learn from peers in small classes,” Goel says. “It is for these reasons that I’m excited to continue my growth as a scholar and leader in Ireland, with which I have no prior experience, with eleven incredibly talented individuals in a small cohort setting.”
Goel co-authored his first published clinical paper at age 16 on the automated detection of congenital heart defects in newborns. Last summer he conducted health economics research at the Summer Student Research Program sponsored by the Harvard Program in Neonatology, an academic program which includes Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, to assess the quality and effectiveness of federally funded clinical trials. He is currently conducting a yearlong senior biology thesis to uncover the mechanisms of asthma, which largely affect impoverished children.
“My most heartfelt congratulations go out to Keshav,” says Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom. “He is a gifted student and researcher who has been deeply committed to the Williams community. I am excited about the adventure that lies ahead for him.”
At Williams, Goel has served as a teaching assistant in the economics and chemistry departments. In addition, he was named the Biology Class of 1960 Scholar and has served as a class representative on the college’s Honors and Discipline Committee. He has also performed stand-up and sketch comedy and is currently a leader in the Williams College Weightlifting Club, where he designs workouts to help students achieve their fitness goals.
“We have never had a candidate like Keshav, so perhaps that is why he is our very first Mitchell Scholar,” says Director of Fellowships Katya King. “He was impressive to watch throughout the application process, taking every opportunity to test his ideas, edit his writing, and prepare for his interviews. And not once did he lose his sense of humor.”
In 2016 Goel worked at the Santa Clara County MediCal Renewal Project, where he helped register homeless people for MediCal, California’s Medicaid, and organized outreach programs to support the area’s homeless population. For the past two years, Goel has worked as a peer mentor through Barrington Stage Company’s Playwright Mentorship Program in North Adams, Mass., to provide drama therapy to adolescent survivors of trauma.
“The Fellowships Office provided me countless hours of help—from discussing my options for fellowships to mock interviews,” Goel says. “I am certain that I would not have received the scholarship without their help, and for that I’m extremely thankful.”
A full list and profiles of this year’s winners can be found on the U.S.-Ireland Alliance website.
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.