NDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Former men's hockey ice player Mike Seward has been awarded the prestigious Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship by the NCAA, the organization announced Tuesday (May 8). Seward, who graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in 2015 as an organismic and evolutionary biology concentrator, and is currently enrolled at Harvard Medical School, will receive a $24,000 grant towards his studies. He plans to pursue a career in clinical medicine that includes research and an active role in health policy.
Seward had previously earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship last summer.
Established in 1988, the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship program each year awards grants to one male and one female recipient. The grants can be renewed for a second year. Recipients chosen by the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship Committee are recognized as combining the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for their achievements and to be future leaders in their chosen field of career service.
The following is an excerpt from the NCAA's announcement:
At Harvard, Seward realized good fuel could give him an edge. "I found that when I paid more attention to eating nutrient-rich foods, I noticed a considerable change in how I felt and functioned on and off the ice," he said.
Since then, he has turned that desire to maximize his training into a passion for improving health and wellness. During his junior year, Seward developed traffic-light nutrition labels for a Harvard cafe. Green labels indicated nutrient-rich food; yellow cautioned eat less often; and red meant eat sparingly. He expanded the program to 12 campus cafeterias for his senior thesis, publishing the results in the American Journal of Public Health.
Seward also had a reputation on his team for being a natural leader and a disciplined worker. "His food choices in the dining halls and work ethic in the gym rubbed off on his teammates," said Ted Donato, The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. "He became the go-to off-ice expert, frequently answering questions about the best breakfast before games or tips on the team strength and conditioning testing."
Among his various service activities, Seward co-chaired the Harvard Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and he volunteered in Vietnam one summer, teaching physics to eighth- and ninth-grade students, often using sports to explore trajectory or acceleration.