Graduating Citizen Scholar Reflects on the Program

Christian Keathley will be one of the first three students to graduate from the College of Arts & Letters’ Citizen Scholars program, which launched in fall 2016 and is designed to prepare the next generation of diverse, high achieving, and engaged citizen leaders. 

“The Citizen Scholars program made my time [at MSU] a lot more positive,” said Keathley, who will graduate May 5 with a B.A. in Humanities Prelaw and a minor in Religious Studies. “I would very much encourage anyone who is thinking about joining the program to do so.”

A collaboration between all departments within the College of Arts & Letters, the Citizen Scholars program aims to help students identify and achieve their goals while preparing them for meaningful careers and leadership roles in this complex and interconnected 21st-century world.

Citizen Scholars gain experience in high-impact learning environments such as study abroad, study away, internships, service learning in the community, and civic interactions.

The Citizen Scholars program made my time [at MSU] a lot more positive. I would very much encourage anyone who is thinking about joining the program to do so.

“We are encouraged to go to community events and perform community service,” Keathley said. “I had a much more positive college career because I was out experiencing those things.”

The Citizen Scholars program also cultivates commitments to diversity, inclusiveness, social justice, and the positive transformation of self and society.

Following graduation, Keathley plans to further his education by attending law school at the University of Michigan where he hopes to study contract law.

But before his time at MSU ends, Keathley will travel to Greece to study law as part of a five-week study abroad trip, an opportunity made possible through the Citizen Scholars program, which awards students $5,000 for completing the program to be used for study abroad or study away, undergraduate research, internships, or other enrichment opportunities.

"Study abroad is something I've always wanted to do, but never expected to participate in. That is, until the Citizen Scholars program helped me both foster an interest in other cultures and provided me with the opportunity to go on a trip via scholarship funding,” Keathley said. “Now, instead of simply spending my post-grad summer working, I'll be able to trek through Greece with my peers while studying law. Not only will this be a fun experience, but will teach me a lot I wouldn't have been able to learn in the traditional classroom setting and should prove to help me with future endeavors, like law school and career placement."