Kelah McKee was the definition of what it meant to be involved on campus during her time as a student at Ivy Tech Community College. She attended the Indianapolis campus from 2015 to 2018, started an organization, and was involved in a plethora of on and off-campus activities.
Kelah’s organization, PolishedBricks, is a nonprofit that allows talented African Americans to share their experiences and their stories of triumphs against struggles. The purpose of the organization is to provide a professional skills, positive publicity and networking opportunities for African Americans in the community.
In addition to bringing this organization to Ivy Tech, Kelah was very involved in Student Life. She served as Campus Activities Board president and director of community service, Student Government Association senator and Student Strengths Organization vice president.
She was also involved with Phenomenal Women and Black Students United on campus. She noted that her favorite experience however, was when she served as Miss Ivy for Ivy Tech’s exhibit at the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration in 2017.
Community service is important to Kelah, which is evident in her extracurricular activities. While at Ivy Tech, she fed the homeless through the Father’s Foundation, made blankets for children at Riley Hospital, created Valentine’s Day cards for the Children’s Bureau and helped with the pen pals/mentorship program with Tindley Academy.
In 2018, Kelah overcame a significant barrier to graduation when her son was born four weeks early. She planned to graduate and then have her son on May 10, but her son was unexpectedly born April 20.
She had to finish her coursework without access to a laptop or Wi-Fi, making it extremely challenging to finish out the semester. Through her dedication and communication with her instructors and program chairs, she was able to finish her coursework and walk at commencement May 4. Her son, named Waalid, is healthy and thriving.
This experience prompted her to give fellow students the following advice, “You might have a plan, but your course of action may change. Stay ready to adapt and you will succeed.”
After graduating with her associate degree in general studies in 2018, Kelah plans to eventually transfer to IUPUI to earn her bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in Africana studies.
Kelah currently works for Radio One as a promotions assistant and hopes to eventually work her way up to an on-air personality.