If you need a little extra help in science class, Keith Hughes will offer his guidance and expertise as a professional tutor in the college’s Learning Assistance Department.
He has some impressive credentials: He graduated from the college in 2014 with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ivy League Cornell University – yes, that Cornell.
“Initially, I was pre-med and planning on going to medical school. I came here right out of Windsor High School,” Keith explained. “After graduation, I transferred to Cornell and got my two years there.”
He needed to take a gap year before entering medical school, and decided to return to SUNY Broome as a professional tutor while he planned his future. The gap stretched into 2½ years while he considered some tough questions: Were the long years of medical school and residency worthwhile, or were there other ways of achieving his goal – to help children with cancer heal?
The opening of Binghamton University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offered an answer.
“With a pharmacy degree, I could still achieve my goal of working with kids with pediatric cancer. I can stay here locally and earn a degree in a field I want to be in,” he said.
And so, he’s back on campus not only as a tutor – a job he has always enjoyed – but to knock out the prerequisite courses he needs to enter pharmacy school in the Fall of 2019. And while he’s here, he figured that he would earn two more degrees: in Engineering Science and Health Studies.
Initially, Keith Hughes dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. His interest in pediatric cancer developed while he was at Cornell and involved with a student club that raised awareness of the issue.
According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer since 1980, and only 4 percent of federal cancer research funds goes to study childhood disease.
Keith envisions a future as a clinical pharmacist, perhaps doing rounds with doctors and reviewing potential drug interactions and treatment options. His added expertise in Engineering Science may prove helpful, too; he’ll be able to come up with new modeling for drugs and their effects, he explained.
Getting his start at SUNY Broome
SUNY Broome proved to be a springboard for Keith, first to Cornell and now to the Pharmacy School. As a pre-med student at Cornell, he faced a heavy workload – triple the average college class – but he learned the skills he needed to cope early on in his college career.
“Chemistry during my very first semester here was a wake up call, and a model for the classes at Cornell,” he said.
Among his favorite professors is Dr. Tracy Curtis in Biology; Keith will be working with her his spring on a research lab pertaining to Lyme disease.
What’s the secret to Keith’s academic success, and balancing challenging coursework with his tutoring job? Time management. “I plan out my day, take it day by day, and focus on one major objective every day,” he said.
That’s good advice for the fellow Hornets he sees in the Learning Assistance Department.
If you need extra help in class, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this free academic service. Keith and his fellow tutors are eager to help.
“I love the fact I can help people achieve their academic goals,” he said.