Scholar-athletes With Academic Goals Initiative

Welcome to the Scholar-athletes With Academic Goals (SWAG) Initiative.

The SWAG Initiative is a pipeline program for scholar-athletes in junior high, high school, and college students interested in science and medicine. Our consortium organizes summits and symposiums to build the SWAG network and funnel our members to various programs and create academic opportunities.

Participation in athletics and academics is an exciting dynamic. It requires the unique abilities of tenacity, determination and a commitment to excellence. Student-athletes develop character traits of self-confidence, dedication to tasks, resilience, and time management, which are also important for success in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). SWAG focuses on scholar-athletes seeking careers in the sciences and health professions.

We are always looking to connect with schools and programs that have the SWAG vision. If you have any questions and want to join our meetings and listserv, please feel free to contact us at

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting!

Components of the Program
The SWAG Initiative features the following components:

  • SWAG Summit 2021
    From February 8 to 14, SWAG partnered with Black Men in White Coats to hold a virtual conference. The summit brought together stakeholders for a week of group discussions and lectures about scientists and healthcare professional careers. Participants included scholar-athletes, parents, medical student-athletes, educators, coaches, physician athletes, medical and graduate school recruiters, and national leaders. Dr. L. Michelle Bennett, PhD, Director, Center for Research Strategy at National Cancer Institute (NCI), delivered the keynote address and Anesthesiology and former NFL Wide Receiver, Dr. Nate Hughes, MD. Other speakers included officials from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), scholar-athletes, physicians, nurses, athletic trainers, and outstanding athletic and health administrators.


    • Reginald W Miller, DVM, DACLAM | Dean of Research Operations and Infrastructure at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    • Marcia Jackson | Moderator & SWAG Committee
    • Anthony Smalls | Co-Moderator & SWAG Program Manager
    • Matthew Brown | VSU / Dentist / Tennis
    • Austin Collins | Middlebury College / Med Student / Football & Basketball
    • Mahalia French | Plattsburgh / Nutritionist / Track & Field 
    • Brooke Kovinsky | Cincinnati / Dental Student / Lacrosse
    • Malik Morgan | Cincinnati / Med Student / Soccer
    • Femi Oyewole | UMass / Med Student / Soccer
  • SWAG Summit 2019
    In June 2019, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hosted the first NYC SWAG Summit, a one-day event for young adult Scholar-Athletes to learn about opportunities in the science and health professions.


    • Reginald W Miller, DVM, DACLAM | Dean of Research Operations and Infrastructure at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    • Brain Hainline, MD | Chief Medical Officer at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
    • Hannah Valantine, MD, MRCP | Cheif Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
    • Norma Poll-Hunter, PhD | Science Director, Human Capital Initiatives at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
    • Valerie Parkas, MD | Senior Associate Dean of Admissions and Recruitment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    • Femi Oyewole | Medical Student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Former Divison I Collegiate Football Player at the University of Massachusetts
    • David Octeau | Medical Student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Former Divison I Collegiate Crew/Rower at Princeton University
    • Enna Selmanovic | Pre-Medical Student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Former Divison I Varsity Women's Swimming and Diving at the University of Cincinnati
    • Showly Nicholson | Medical Student at Harvard Medical School
  • Game Plan Series
    This monthly meeting series is hosted by Dr. Miller, who is the Game Plan Director, and a guest speaker who is a former athlete (collegiate or professional) currently in the field of medicine. The discussions help participants understand managing sports and academic studies—and how to excel in both.
  • SWAG Live Discussions
    SWAG organizes live informative discussions with various physicians that provide care to athletes (collegiate and professional). We have hosted series about Human Performance and Sports Performance Enhancement.
  • SWAG Curriculum
    The SWAG curriculum will suggest content for an educational science and medicine foundation. We will offer links to videos, practice exams, and other resources to help build your students’ knowledge and career preparation.
  • Friends of ODysseus (FOD) Mentoring Program
    The Friends of ODysseus is a mentoring program serving underrepresented students and staff within the Mount Sinai Health System.  Our goal is to aid and assist minorities by creating a networking alliance for career paths and advancement.

SWAG Publication:

CUNY Journalist and Director of Health & Science Reporting, Emily Laber-Warren, wrote an article for the Undark entitled "To Boost Black Men in Medicine, Advocates Turn to Sports," featuring the SWAG Initiative.  The article has expanded to various platforms like the Smithsonian Magazine, Popular Science, Medscape, Press News Agency, and Mother Jones.