Saginaw Valley State University

Keshara Mumford (2016)

My First Generation Story

I remember what it was like to search for purpose in life. As a first-generation college student my freshman year, initially I enrolled as a criminal justice major, but spent much of my first year unsure of the decision—and my future.

I discovered my love for social work in one of SVSU’s social work classes. The coursework resonated with me, and with some guidance from my mentors at the university, I realized I wanted to explore the subject further—and beyond the classroom.

I participated in a 2012 SVSU-sponsored trip that sent volunteers to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. There, my classmates and I helped paint a youth center and renovate the home of a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran.

Later, I became involved in the United Way of Saginaw County’s Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership AmeriCorps program. There, I worked to support and improve the lives of Saginaw youth. It gave me a sense of belonging and being connected to the community.

The opportunity connected me with the Boy Scouts of America’s Water and Woods Field Service Council, where I completed 900 hours of service as an outreach facilitator. My work included teaching boys and girls about life skills, health and nutrition, substance abuse prevention, and more.

I became involved in their lives outside of the council too, attending some of the students’ sporting events. After the first time I did that, one of the older boys came up to me and said, “I really appreciated that because no one ever came and cheered for me.” I thought, “Wow, this is why I’m doing this.”

I also was an intern for the State of Michigan’s 10th Circuit Court Family Division office in Saginaw Township, where I worked to improve the lives of teenagers in trouble because of offenses such as retail fraud and truancy.

I am proud of the number of youths who responded to the time and attention I gave them. It wasn’t easy, but if you keep working, keep reaching out to someone, you will crack the code. You have to build a rapport and show them that you care.

The opportunities and the education I’ve had at SVSU helped show me how to connect to the community. Now I want to show others how to connect to their communities, too.

About the Student

Keshara Mumford Resized

Keshara Mumford remembers what it was like to search for purpose in life. The Detroit native enrolled at Saginaw Valley State University initially as a criminal justice major, but spent much of her first year unsure of the decision — and her future. But a group of mentors on campus provided a guiding beacon, leading her to realize both a calling as a social worker and a desire to provide guidance to others searching for the right path.

Student Stats

Name: Keshara Mumford (2016)
Age: 22
Year in School: Senior
Major: Social Work
Favorite Course: Social Work
Dream Job: University Professor

About the School


At SVSU you will experience opportunities of self discovery, leadership, and growth while pursuing one of our 90 undergraduate or graduate programs. You will be enlightened to international cultures through speakers, coursework, and perhaps even a study abroad experience. Our distinguished faculty are committed to undergraduate teaching.  The value of these opportunities is enhanced by the fact that SVSU offers the lowest tuition rate of Michigan’s public universities.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662