Madeline Keefer - Respect

Meeting students who are second generation students isn’t exactly an anomaly at North Carolina A&T State University. But meeting a second generation student who is considered a minority is.

“The day I visited A&T the first time was the day I chose to come here,” Madeline Keefer admitted. “The environment was really welcoming and I knew it was where I wanted to be for the next four years.”

Keefer, 19, is a chemical engineering major who followed her dad’s footsteps to Aggieland. For most of high school, she knew she wanted to major in engineering and her dad insisted she apply to his alma mater.

“(My dad) played baseball and was a part of the first graduating class of chemical engineering majors in 1990,” she said. “He had a really great experience.”

She not only applied, Keefer earned a Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholarship that pays tuition, fees, room and board. To qualify, a student has to have a combined SAT verbal and math score of 1200 or higher, from a single test administration or an ACT of at least 26 with a weighted GPA of 3.75 or higher.

Now in her sophomore year, Keefer is extremely happy with her decision to attend  N.C. A&T.

“I enjoy Aggie Pride as much as the next Aggie,” she said. “I love the football games and when the band was in Macy’s last year, I woke up everyone in my house screaming when I saw them.”

In her freshman year, her parents called her almost daily to make sure she was OK. But now that she is in her second year, they don’t call as often because they know she’s comfortable and has made Aggieland her home.

“I had a lot of personal expectations when I came in. I want to set myself up for success,” Keefer said.

Her commitment was evident. She wanted to excel academically, join professional organizations, develop leadership skills and meet as many people as possible. Halfway through her sophomore year, Keefer has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, joined the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She also serves as a mentor in the University Honors Program.

Maddie, as she is affectionately known,  also had no problem making friends.

“I’ve made friends that I’m sure I’ll have for a lifetime,” Keefer said.

Coming to A&T has given her a multitude of additional benefits she didn’t think of before. From networking opportunities at job fairs and in the classroom to conducting research as a freshman with graduate students and faculty members, Keefer delighted with her academic experiences.

“My professors know my name and they really care about (my) professional development,” she said. “All my professors have office hours and they’re willing to help outside of class. That is rare at some bigger schools.”

Keefer is also impressed with camaraderie she has with her fellow students and classmates.

“It’s not ‘every man for himself’ here. We have a common goal and we’re working toward it together,” she said.

Growing up in Morehead City, Keefer was not a minority. Though she is considered a minority at A&T, she embraces it. And while her dad is happy she’s followed in his footsteps, she thinks he’s more proud that she made the decision on her own.

“I don’t question my decision at all. I think this is what he wanted me to do along but he wanted me to be comfortable,” she said. “He knows I love it here and that this is my school like it was his. He doesn’t have to ask me if I’m OK anymore. He knows I’m doing just fine. Actually, I’m doing great.”

Points of Pride