Milton Hershey’s Nate Boyd leading Spartans, helping cancer research


The game of basketball is a blessing for Milton Hershey’s Nate Boyd.

Growing up on the streets of South Philadelphia, it kept him out of trouble and helped lead him to the Spartans boy’s basketball program.

“It’s been a huge teacher for me and I let the game become a part of me,” Boyd said.

He’s a captain for the Spartans, a team beginning its quest for a state championship on Monday evening.

“[He’s] just a kid that’s shown tremendous improvement during his four years here,” said head coach Mark Zerbe. “[Nate’s] one of the guys that keeps everyone else together.”

Despite his successes on the hardwood, but his best work comes in a different lab. The senior is a paid research lab assistant at the Penn State Cancer Institute in Hershey.

“We’re working with a [breast] cancer line called triple negative and it’s one of the hardest to beat,” Boyd explained. “I knew what I could get out of it and I knew what I could provide to the team.”

Nate’s direct supervisor, Dr. Nancy Lill, is impressed with his drive.

“He’s now a very dependable worker who can provide support for the lab in almost any situation,” she said, also adding that a lot of his work is done independently.

On top of all of these commitments, Nate is taking courses at Harrisburg Area Community College. He’s an aspiring biomedical engineer with over 20 college credits to his name. Once a kid just trying to stay out of trouble in his South Philly neighborhood, he now can’t stay away from success.

He stays humble through it all.

“It was nothing looking at it like forward thinking,” he said. “It was all just my right now and understanding that I’m having fun right now, so that’s all that matters.”

As Nate leaps towards his future, he won’t be leaving the game he loves in the past. He is putting academic opportunities over basketball in college, but wants to try and make the team at any school he attends.

“I’m losing that part of me if I lose basketball,” he said.

It’s hard to say Nate can’t do it. Losing isn’t a term that the budding scholar athlete is familiar with.

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