INSTITUTION: Central State University, is a 4,000-student university located in Wilberforce, Ohio. Founded in 1856 as part of Wilberforce University, Central State became independent in 1887, and is Ohio’s only public historically Black university, one of the few HBCUs in the Midwest, and one of 14 institutions in the University System of Ohio.

HOMETOWN: Baltimore

MAJOR: Communications

As Keante’ Lewis approached her college search, she was certain of two things: She wanted to major in communications, and she wanted to attend an HBCU. She also was a standout high school basketball player and hoped to compete as a college athlete.

“I think basketball is what also pushed my leadership because I’ve always been a leader on the court,” Lewis said. “It gave me that different perspective of leading a team, having to depend on others, and it translated into my everyday life.”

HOW SHE CHOSE HER HBCU: Lewis discovered Central State — which has a communications program and is a perennial women’s basketball powerhouse — and emailed the coach. A response arrived within minutes and encouraged Lewis not only to apply for admission but also for a coveted honors scholarship.

“It seems like this is something telling me that this is the school I need to go to,” Lewis said.

DEVELOPING AS A LEADER: Lewis said the description of a Strada Scholar speaks to who she is and who she wants to be. She felt that way from the moment the executive director of the Central State Honors College told her she had been selected.

“You know, this does kind of sound like me — because the big thing is leadership and being the leader of the leaders and coming together and making stuff move and grow,” Lews said. “That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m always doing, just making something bigger than it already is.”

EDUCATION-CAREER CONNECTION: Even as a first-year student at Central State, Lewis earned a first internship, where she helped a professor market a documentary film project about incarcerated mothers. And in the summer before her sophomore year, she worked in her Baltimore hometown for a professional marketer, helping to communicate with clients and prep for television segments.

“I’m developing my communication and my confidence because it’s working with people who are doing what I want to do,” Lewis said. “ I’m learning from them and that’s building my … communication, confidence. Aand it’s building my creativity as well.”