Keilah Shaw is a spring 2021 graduate with a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Human Resources Management.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Spokane, Washington. I come from an amazing mom and dad, and I have a younger brother. I am biracial: African American and White. Not a lot of people would assume this about me or know this, but it is a part of my identity that I love to share. Something interesting about myself could be that when I am older, I want to own and operate an used bookstore. I am obsessed with books and the knowledge they offer, so it has always been something that I look forward to. Another interesting but potentially weird fact about myself is that my office is surrounded with photos of serial killer mugshots, which some people would find creepy.
What made you choose WSU and a major in Criminal Justice and Criminology?
I chose WSU because of my vision for what I wanted out of college. I wanted to go to college and focus on my studies while also being able to have the opportunities to get involved in the community and on campus. The small-town atmosphere and engagement that WSU offers to students really solidified my decision. It was also important to me to still be able to be closer to home. I was one of those students who came into college knowing what I wanted to do. Criminal justice and criminology has been my passion since I was young, and I knew that WSU had a great criminal justice program, so it was a perfect fit. Coming from a biracial family, my dad had always made sure I was aware of certain issues, and having had family members who have been in and out of the criminal justice system, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding. Criminal justice and criminology are things that get me excited to learn every day, and hopefully after I am done receiving my education, I can find a career that allows me to make improvements to our current system.
You are very involved in leadership. Tell us about that.
I came into college really adopting the idea that it would be a new journey for me. With a new journey comes new opportunities and I wanted to get involved as much as I could, starting freshman year. I went to leadership conferences, I went on CougSync at the time to find different clubs, and I started volunteering with the Center for Community Engagement. I finally got involved with the Criminal Justice Club, and from there, I knew that I also wanted to be a part of Alpha Phi Sigma once I completed the requirements. With all that I have done in student leadership, my favorite aspects are being able to get other students involved or being able to provide a path for students to find what they are passionate about. Whether we are on campus or out in the Pullman community, my goal is that everyone has opportunities to get involved. Some challenges I face on a personal level include questioning whether I am doing enough or being able to provide enough support for what students need because every student has different needs. Another challenge is simply getting students to want to get involved. We all are going through a transitional period in our lives when we are in college, so it is about figuring out ways to get that “buy-in” from students. From all the experiences, I have learned that I am not a perfect leader, there is no one perfect leader, and that being able to adapt, learn, and grow from others I am leading is how I best embrace my leadership.
What are you most proud of in your time at WSU?
I am most proud of all of the amazing friendships and connections I have made on top of all that I have been able to accomplish. I sometimes dismiss all that I have done, but it has been a lot, and I am proud of the person I have become throughout the process. From working at the Center for Civic Engagement for 3.5 years out of my 4 years of undergrad, being a Resident Advisor for 2 years and now an Apartment Coordinator for the university, it has all been amazing. I am so proud of all that I have been able to contribute to both Alpha Phi Sigma and the Criminal Justice Club and how connected I feel to the faculty in the Criminal Justice and Criminology department because without their support, I would not be where I am.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to attend WSU for my graduate education in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Find out more about Keilah.