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1st Year Fellow Series: Will Keyse’s Path Back Home

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1st Year Fellow Series: Will Keyse’s Path Back Home

By Will Keyse

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Wandering the dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Sahara Desert

As a young professional, I owe a great deal of gratitude to the state of Colorado. I watched Denver expand at an astounding pace over the course of my childhood and adolescence. I had tremendous mentors and gained invaluable life experiences through involvement in sports, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and service-learning opportunities. I was the beneficiary of a top-notch education at Denver School of Science and Technology Montview High School, the first of an innovative charter school network that has had 100% college acceptance since 2008.

These experiences in Colorado led me to Tacoma, Washington, where I was able to build on that empowering high school education by attending and graduating from the University of Puget Sound.

Over the course of my three and a half years in the Pacific Northwest, my priority was to engage in the widest breadth of experiences I could. I immersed myself in the campus community through tutoring, leading new-student orientation and working on the kitchen team. I was also lucky enough to travel out of the country on several occasions. In each experience, I was inspired to see individuals commit to the betterment of their community through critical thinking and empathetic dialogue. On the Puget Sound campus, this inspiration derived from weekly leadership meetings at the writing center focused on re-examining academic language as a barrier in higher education. During my travels, a striking example was an entrepreneurial group of women in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco who formed a collective to empower local artisans through gainful employment and organized representation.

My experience in Morocco and elsewhere taught me unique lessons. Over the four years it became clearer in my mind that returning home to Colorado and applying all that I had learned over 22 years was the natural next step. As I moved through the Fellowship interview process, I connected deeply with the values of service, excellence and perpetual growth that are the beating heart of El Pomar Foundation. For me, my time with El Pomar is an incredible opportunity—a space to learn and grow as a professional while working with the community that I care for deeply and that raised me. 

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Will Keyse joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the 2020 Fellowship class. As a Fellow, Will works on Awards for Excellence, Communications, Fellowship Recruiting and Western Legislative Academy. Will also supports the Central Peaks region.  Read more about Will here