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Jan 12 2015

Driven to Lead: Shameka Renee Kelley, SGA President, Lincoln University of Missouri

What makes you a D.R.I.V.E.R. (Determined. Reliable. Innovative. Visionary. Emerging. Resourceful.)?
I am Determined because I do not give up on my goals regardless of the trials am faced with. I am Reliable because I am a mentor for many and being in such a position, it is key to be ready and available for others at all times. I am Innovative because I continue to think of ways I can shape the world and people around me. I am a Visionary because I try to remain ten steps ahead of my goals. I always seek to be better than I was the day before. I am Emerging because when presented with an opportunity to excel, I seize them. I am Resourceful because I take what I learn and I always share that to aid in my growth and the growth of others. Remembering my dreams as a child continues to “drive” me everyday. The situations of my past continue to dictate my future and fuel me to strive for greater. I have always imagined myself as a concrete rose and I continue to grow despite all obstacles.

What is your dream job?
My dream job growing up was to be the President of the United States, but now, I would prefer to work for the Department of Education or a U.S. Senator for the state of Missouri.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My most proud accomplishment besides becoming SGA President was receiving first place in the Science Education division at the Missouri Academy of Science. I was working on research about why underrepresented minority students are not interested in STEM in comparison to whites. I worked extremely hard on my presentation and conducting my research, which I hosted an event for underrepresented minority middle school students.

What is the best advice that you have ever received?
The best advice I have been given is “anything worth having is worth fighting for.” When I think about quitting, this advice given by my god-mother helps me to continue persevering. It is more rewarding to work for your accomplishments than them being handed to you.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
In five to ten years, I see myself having served on a school board, working on my Ph.D in Mathematics or Education, owning some property across America, and traveling the world.

What are your hobbies/interests/special talents?
Currently, I am learning how to play the guitar and I write poetry in my spare time.

What are your “favs?”
Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Quote: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
Song: I love listening to music. I love all styles of music. I have been listening to all of Stevie Wonder’s songs all month and my new favorite song is “Living for the City.”
City: My favorite thing to do is travel so I do not have a specific favorite city. I love seeing and meeting new people and I love studying new cultures. I have always been intrigued how people interact with one another.

What advice would you like to share to help encourage other students or recent graduates to “keep driving?”
Never give up. The moment you give up, you validate people’s doubts about you. Always understand your goals and your purpose and remember you have a purpose. It takes time to hone in on your dreams and goals, but if you put yourself around positive, goal-oriented people, you will most definitely reach your goals.

What are your thoughts about what YOUniversity Drive is doing to help motivate, educate and inspire our next generation of leaders?
I am ecstatic to see that YOUniversity Drive is highlighting leaders from across America. It shows that this generation most definitely has courage to make a change!