Grant: Empowering the student body

She has been asserting herself as a campus leader over the past four years.

She has held several roles in FAMU’s Student Government Association including chief of staff and student body vice president.

She is a recipient of the Johnson Legacy Scholarship from Coca-Cola, and she’s been recognized for her extensive work with the Boys & Girls Club of Tallahassee.

She’s been an honor student since her freshman year of college.

And with little more than a month before her college graduation, Keneisha Grant can add another title to her impressive resume: The Famuan’s “Most Influential Female Student.”

Position of Power

The political science student from Fort Lauderdale said while she is honored by the title, there is only one thing that sets her apart from those on campus.

“What separates me from other women is that I ran for a position,” Grant said. “But we share the same issues.”

When asked if she considered herself influential, Grant said it depends on her audience.

“In things that I’m well-versed in- like SGA- I’m very influential,” Grant explained.

Grant doesn’t view her position as the highest-ranking women in student government as significant as other people.

“I don’t consider myself in terms of being a woman. I was given the tools I needed to succeed in this position by previous SGA presidents. My gender was never an issue.”

She Works Hard for the Money

While Grant may not think of herself as the most influential female student, her friends and colleagues said otherwise.

Junior Arnika Frazier, 20, a public relations student from Jacksonville, said she has known Grant for two years. She described Grant as ambitious and determined.

“And she’s stern,” Fraizer added with a laugh. “But once you get to know her, you’ll find out that she’s a fun-loving person and down to earth.”

As a staff assistant for SGA President Virgil Miller and Grant’s R.E.E.L. Administration, Frazier said she worked with Grant on a few projects such as SGA’s 2004 Winter Formal.

“Keneisha gives you assignments and expects you to get the job done,” Frazier explained. “She’s very caring and compassionate about the work you are doing for SGA. She asks if you need help. That’s the business savvy part of her.”

Miller described Grant as dedicated.

“She gives totally of herself for those things that she believes in,” Miller said. “She has always, always, always fought for the students at FAMU.”

An example of that is allowing students to park in her University-issued parking space and not having them towed like most faculty members would.

“I feel like that’s not student-friendly,” Grant said. “But then I get parking tickets.”

Miller added that Grant is a hard worker.

“She never complains about the amount of work or the type work she has to do,” Miller said. “She never offers excuses but finds solutions.”

Miller also said that he considers Grant to be one of his close friends outside of their working relationship.

“She’s very open and very goal oriented and she’s never satisfied,” Miller said. “And I haven’t seen her afraid of anything or anybody.”

R.E.E.L. fun

Aside from her work in SGA, Grant is also an active member of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. She is on the Social Action Committee and the Policies and Procedures Committee of the sorority.

Initiated in the fall of 2003, Grant has been instrumental in planning the chapter’s annual Frenchtown Explosion and participated with Tallahassee Alumnae Chapter in the Betty Shabazz Academy, a mentoring program for girls ages 9-13.

Lamonica Orr, president of the Beta Alpha chapter, described Grant as resoucreful.

“She knows a lot of people in the community,” Orr said. “She helps establish our chapter’s external connections with the Tallahassee community.”

Although Grant is busy with her extracurricular activities, she said her contributions to campus life should not make her an influential person.

“I’m forced to contribute,” Grant said. “My position requires that I work hard. That should be expected from everyone that holds this position.”

Rather, it is Grant’s work ethic and commitment to helping students that sets her apart from many people on campus.

“I contribute to student life by being available to students,” Grant said. “If I wasn’t in SGA, I’d probably be volunteering at FAMU DRS or in other small clubs and organizations.”

Outside of working in SGA, Grant said she enjoys walking around her neighborhood, volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, watching movies and swimming.

Blueprint to a Legacy

Grant is the first person in her immediate family to graduate from a college or university, an honor she doesn’t see as a burden.

“I thought it was time,” Grant said. “I hope to set a legacy for the family members who are coming behind me.”

Among Grant’s many titles is a big sister.

“I have a 5-year-old sister, Sashi Cayard,” Grant said.

Grant said FAMU was always high on her list of colleges to attend.

“I’m from Florida; it was kind of what I knew,” Grant said. “After researching other schools, FAMU was still the best school. It had the best sense of a home away from home.”

While some students have negative memories of their first year at the University, Grant does not.

“My most memorable moment was my first convocation when the band played ‘Total Praise.'”

Although graduation is quickly approaching, Grant said she does not have any concrete plans.

“I applied for FAMU’s graduate school, Teach for America and to FSU’s graduate school,” Grant said.

Ten years from now, Grant said she plans to have a master’s degree and law degree.

“I plan to work in city management and be a city manager 20 or 30 years from now,” Grant said of her future plans. “I like Tallahassee, I might stay here.”

Grant said there are a few things that will be remembered about her once she graduates.

“People will say, ‘That’s the girl with the Afro who wasn’t easy to talk to, but she was OK,'” Grant said. “But I would like them to remember that I was a good person.”

Contact Alexia R. Robinson at