May 23, 2008

Exceptional Bears: Whitney Keefe '08

May 23, 2008

Providence, RI - Beginning this fall, Brownbears.com will feature regular profiles on student-athletes who achieve success both on and off the field. The Exceptional Bears series will highlight the best and brightest that Brown Athletics has to offer. With the Class of 2008 set to walk through the Van Wickle Gates, we offer this preview, highlighting Brown Equestrian's Whitney Keefe '08.

Success in hunt seat equitation, the style of riding Brown's equestrian team competes in, requires a diverse set of skills. It requires grace and poise while in the saddle, well-practiced technique, the ability to quickly adjust to an unfamiliar horse, and a certain amount of courage - after all, even the best riders can be thrown.

Senior captain Whitney Keefe, who competed for Brown's equestrian team for the final time at the IHSA National Horse Show this weekend in Los Angeles this month, is an excellent example of what a student athlete can do with a diverse skill set, both in the saddle and off the field. As the Bears' top Open division rider for the past three seasons, she has established herself as one of the best riders in the country. As a Biology concentrator with a 3.80 GPA entering her final semester, the Wellesley, Mass., native has similarly distinguished herself in the classroom.

After graduating, Keefe will attend The Tufts University School of Medicine. She already has experience in the medical field, primarily in oncology. She has held an internship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute with the Head of Oncology Research, learning principles of the field and conducting research on the prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). She has also shadowed attending physician in the hematology/oncology division at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, observing bone marrow biopsies, chemotherapy treatments, and basic diagnoses and treatments for multiple myeloma, leukemia, and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Keefe also participated in research involving bone marrow transplants.

Of course, this equestrian is no one-trick pony. A two-year captain of the equestrian team, she has been elected as the team's representative to the Student Athletic Advisory Council for the past four years. On campus, Keefe has served as a Meiklejohn advisor for freshman athletes and biology concentrators, and she was a teaching assistant for the popular Engineering 90: Managerial Decision Making class taught by Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine.

That interest in business also led Keefe to an internship at Craig Capital Corporation, where she performed analyses of potential investments, worked on a sale of one of the company's holdings for $283 million, and assisted in a presentation on the marketing of another portfolio company. In the summer of 2006, Keefe honed her business skills at the Tuck Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth College, a highly selective 30-day program that gives students a rigorous introduction to accounting, finance, managerial economics, marketing, and strategy taught by MBA faculty.

And, of course, Keefe is no slouch in the saddle. Last season, she had her second consecutive top-10 finish in the Cacchione Cup competition at IHSA Nationals, finishing fifth among the nation's top riders. She also led the Bears to a third-place finish in the team competition by placing third in Open Flat and fifth in Open Fences, and placed second in Individual Open Flat in what was a busy three days.

This season, Keefe led the Bears to their second consecutive Region 1 Championship and Nationals berth. She finished second in the Regional Open Rider standings, but her importance to the Bears' team efforts were highlighted by her clutch late-season performances. With her team clinging to a one-point lead over Connecticut entering the season's final regular season show, Keefe won her classes in Open Fences and Open Flat, scoring 14 crucial points as the Bears won the Regional title. At the Zone 1 Championship, Keefe again got two blue ribbons, helping Brown win a tiebreaker after tying with Stonehill for second place, as the team's three blue ribbons to the Skyhawks' two clinched their trip to Nationals. Keefe then closed her career as one of three Brown riders to score at Nationals, helping her team to a fifth-place finish.