Nicholas Norwitz '18 wins Keasbey Scholarship

by Autumn Dinh | 4/6/18 2:25am

Biology major Nicholas Norwitz ’18 was recently awarded the Keasbey Scholarship, which will provide full funding for him to study at the University of Oxford for two years after he graduates from Dartmouth this June. Norwitz said that he will focus on studying muscular metabolism during his post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom.

According to Norwitz, his experiences at Dartmouth — both academic and non-academic — have shaped his world perspective, which was a crucial element the Keasbey Scholarship committee considered during interviews.

“When they interviewed me for the scholarship, they wanted to know the way I think,” Norwitz said. “Everything I do affects the way I think.”

Norwitz said he has benefited from the “experiential learning” model at Dartmouth. Outside the classroom, he works as a biology resident expert for School House and a pre-health mentor for underclassmen. He added that he has been conducting research on why older women are more likely to have children with birth defects in biology professor Sharon Bickel’s lab.

“I really appreciate the fact that Professor Bickel ... reached out and invited me to work in her lab,” he said.

According to Norwitz, one College experience that stands out the most to him is the effort that biology professor Lee Witters made to take his students to Pine Restaurant for lunch, in order to get to know them beyond the classroom.

“It really supplemented [my] academic experience,” he said.

Norwitz said that he is drawn to Dartmouth by the close relationship between professors and students.

“If you [make the] effort to reach out to the prof[essor]s, they’re good resources,” he said.

He added that the biology department is a “true community,” in which he has found helpful mentors who have supported him through both medical school and scholarship applications.

Witters wrote in an email that Norwitz is a “very deserving student” for the scholarship.

Bickel also wrote in an email that Norwitz is “incredible” and that “it has been a pleasure and a privilege to mentor him in [her] lab.”

Norwitz said that his interest in biology comes from his experience running marathons in high school. According to Norwitz, he was aiming to participate in the Boston Marathon when he experienced a sports injury in his senior year of high school. While he could not continue running, he said that he became curious about the reasons behind his injury.

After returning from Oxford, Norwitz said that he will study at the Harvard School of Medicine.

“I want to become a doctor,” he said. “As someone who wanted to be an athlete but [was not] able to do it, I feel that I can connect with the patients better.”

Norwitz said that he feels both grateful for receiving the Keasbey Scholarship and motivated to get the most of his experience at Oxford.

“It’s not about what you get, but it’s about what you do with what you get,” he said.

Each year, the Keasbey Memorial Foundation selects students from 12 American higher education institutions on the East Coast to receive the scholarship. Four of these colleges and universities each nominate two candidates for consideration by the Keasbey Foundation on a rotating yearly basis. In fall 2017, students from Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth and Harvard University competed against one another for the Keasbey Scholarship. In fall 2016, the Keasbey Foundation selected students from Amherst College, Princeton University, Swarthmore College and Yale University; in fall 2018, the pool of candidates will come from Bowdoin College, Haverford College, Middlebury College and Wesleyan University.

Since Dartmouth can only nominate students for the Keasbey Scholarship once every three years, the next class able to apply for the scholarship is the Class of 2021.

“It’s quite an honor that a Dartmouth student has got [the Keasbey Scholarship],” assistant dean of scholarship advising Jessica Smolin said, adding that all the candidates are “incredibly talented.”

Other than academic excellence and compelling reasons to study in the U.K., a Keasbey Scholar should have “a great interest in research and commitment to work on behalf of others,” Smolin said.

“I believe that [Norwitz] will represent Dartmouth incredibly well,” she said.