2017 Tillman Scholar

Keidrick Roy

Air Force
Harvard University
Ph.D., American Studies

“Although I leave my uniform behind, I will never leave the service.”

After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 2009 and earning his Master’s degree in 2010, Keidrick served in the Air Force nuclear operations career field as a missile combat crew commander, flight commander, and nuclear procedures evaluator. In 2015, he returned to the Air Force Academy, where he has been teaching English as an active duty Captain.

As an instructor at a military institution, Keidrick became interested in the civil-military divide in higher education. In 2017, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded him a grant to lead a project entitled “Beyond Black and Blue: Race and the Future of Civil-Military Relations,” which brought together students and professors from civilian liberal arts colleges, the Air Force Academy, and West Point to discuss strategies for teaching students about race and ethnicity within and across their institutions.

The relationships he developed with students and faculty around the country while leading efforts such as these helped him to cultivate stronger connections between teaching and service in both military and civilian contexts. Keidrick is now entering Harvard University to pursue a doctoral degree in American Studies, an interdisciplinary program in which he will explore the connections among American literature, religion, and political philosophy. After earning his Ph.D., Keidrick plans to continue the teaching, research, and service he began as a junior officer. He will transition from carrying nuclear launch codes to decoding the human condition at the intersection of race, literature, and public policy.