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Keith Torrey

Keith Torrey

Hometown: Villa Hills, KY
High School: Holmes High School
Intended Major: History
Minor: Biology
Possible Career: Medicine

Keith was a student in the only International Baccalaureate (IB) Program offered at an inner-city school in Northern Kentucky. He was the captain of the Academic Quick Recall Team, captain of the tennis team, and was a National Merit Finalist. Keith's interests ranged broadly, from physics to Shakespeare; this diversity was evident in the changes in the topic of his IB Extended Essay, first from an analysis of Harry Truman's foreign policy, to a report on TOEs — "Theories of Everything" — in physics, until he settled upon a study of the importance of fools in Shakespeare's King Lear and Twelfth Night.

In high school Keith spent much of his time organizing and participating in church projects, including the Open Door Food Ministry, a food bank for a poor section of Cincinnati. He has sung in his church choir, helped teach Vacation Bible School, acted as Jesus in a production of Godspell, and has been very active with his church youth group. At Swarthmore, Keith has continued work with children by tutoring at after-school programs in nearby Chester.

Keith is driven to explore insights in both science and religion, and has a love of studying history, particularly the history of science and medicine. This culminated in his senior capstone project/thesis on the internal conflicts of medical missionaries in nineteenth century China, between medical duties and social/religious loyalities. Keith's own experiences abroad have been few but captivating. A trip to Italy during the summer before college gave Keith a chance to gain knowledge about the historical, architectural and artistic aspects of the country, as well as a deeper affection for traveling, photography, and languages beyond English and Spanish. An Evans-funded journey to Scotland after freshman year at Swarthmore helped inform Keith's decision to study abroad at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland during fall of his junior year. Before classes began at St. Andrews, he traveled to Spain enjoying the cultures of Madrid and Barcelona but also immersing himself in the culture of southern Spain and the remnants of its Moorish society.

Keith left the world of tennis to become passionately interested in the more novel sport of Ultimate Frisbee. He's a starter on Swarthmore's Ultimate Frisbee team, which tied for 3rd at the 2008 D-III Nationals.

Once Keith decided to become a physician, he enthusiastically joined the Global Health Forum chapter at Swarthmore and spent summer and winter breaks shadowing physicians at hospitals in both Cincinnati and Detroit. The summer after his junior year, Keith had a research internship with the Swarthmore Biology Department while preparing for the MCAT exam. During his senior year winter break he presented his research at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SICB) conference in January 2009 where he attended numerous talks and found a renewed excitement about the future of biology and medicine.

Keith is now a research specialist working for the GI Research Division of the University of Pennsylvania. He works with a doctor doing immunology research on the pathogenesis and treatment of Hepatitis B and C and HIV, in a lab based at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Since he is living in Philadelphia, he hopes to begin taking courses at UPenn and expects to keep playing Ultimate Frisbee.