Keri Richmond was drawn to Kent State University for the fashion program, but quickly changed her mind after one semester. She wanted to do more for others in the community, especially foster children. She changed her major to Communication and Public Relations and, after one class with Professor Stephanie Smith, she knew she had made the right decision. Taking her Principals of Public Relations class encouraged Keri that she was on the right path and Professor Smith was, and still is, a role model and mentor for her. Keri hopes to change many things about the foster system in order to help the children, as she herself was a foster child. She believes that this contributes to her resiliency in life, and believes that this is a common trait of foster children. She knows that “if [you] fail, you just have to get up and try again.”
What motivates Keri to work hard in life is being a first generation college student and the knowledge that she can help more people if she has an education and a degree. She also wants to inspire other foster children and show them that they too can be successful and go to college, no matter what their past lives have been like. She is a true believer in the mentor system and wants all foster kids to have someone cheering them on in life so that they can have positive and bright futures. In her opinion, one of the most important things foster children need is support in order for them to do well in their lives.
Keri loves being involved in as many events as she can on campus, such as working with the Panhellenic council in the past and participating in her sorority, Delta Gamma. She enjoys travelling and trying new things as well as spending time with her many friends on campus, who are more like family members to her now. She is also interested in politics; she has had an internship in D.C. with U.S. senator Rob Portman and has been involved in student government at Kent State. She hopes to be involved in more internships in the future as well, perhaps in D.C. again with Rob Portman for his re-election campaign.
Later on in her life, she would like to open up a non-profit organization for older foster youth to help inspire them to reach for, and accomplish, their goals in life and to help them feel like they are not alone. Another thing Keri hopes to do in the future is to be a foster parent herself and adopt a child. Through her work, she would like to prevent the number of foster parents from shrinking and get more foster children into happy homes.
One piece of advice Keri has for other students is that “you’re not your past, you’re what you choose to become. You can use your past as a driving force to make you even more passionate and more driven to accomplish what you could have never imagined before.” She is a very passionate person and wishes to change the lives of many foster children for the better.