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Howard University Attracts Student From Trinidad


Keisha McLane is in her last year at Howard University in Washington, DC. She says she always had an interest in the political science and law field even before she came to the United States. “I’m from Trinidad and Tobago and I have always wanted to do law, but I decided that if I was coming here to probably go to law school that first I should probably find something out about the American political system and the American legal system so that is why I decided to major in political science so that I could have some sort of idea as to how the government is formulated and learn about the legislative process and the legal process,” she says. “I decided to come to the United States mainly to attend Howard University because at home Howard University has a very good reputation. It is known for educating a lot of black scholars that have come back to the Caribbean and done a lot of great things,” she says. “So when I got accepted to Howard University I took the opportunity to come here and go to school.”

While attending Howard, Keisha involved herself in campus activities that surround her major study as well as her Caribbean culture. “Well in 2004 and 2005 I was elected the public relations officer of the political science society and that has taken up a lot of my time in terms of trying to get stuff out there about political awareness because 2004 was an election year,” she says. “So the members of the e-board and myself we had debate watches where we got the students to come and look at the debate watches together then have a discussion. Besides the political science society I am an active member of the Caribbean Student Association because I felt it was important to maintain my Caribbean roots and the Caribbean Association is a very good organization in terms of trying to help Caribbean students and other international students who are apart of the organization making sure that they feel at home and that they have someone that they can always go and speak to and help them with any problems and kind of be liaison between the Caribbean islands and the students up here at Howard.”

One particular lesson Keisha says she has learned while completing an assignment for class is how important history is to people and their own culture, especially African-Americans. “I must admit it was a bit of a culture clash when I first got here, but it took a while for me to understand the culture of mainly African-Americans because when I came here I thought there was too much focus on justice if you are black and all the racism because in the Caribbean we don’t really deal with it on that level and I thought it was too much focus on being African-American, but there was a project that I had to do for one of my classes where I had to look at cases of hate laws and hate crimes and through that assignment I realized the stuff that African-Americans have gone through that I have never experienced," she says. "So that gave me a greater understanding because I never had to be afraid of walking through a certain district at a time of night and I have never had to be cautious about driving a fancy car in a particular neighborhood. I never had to go through that experience and by going through those cases where I saw the discrimination that African-Americans had to go through then I realized why it was so important to make sure that one is always aware of where you came from and where you are going now."

After Keisha graduates from Howard University, she knows what she wants to do.

“I want to go to law school that is my main focus right now. Going to law school and probably focusing on either international law or family law because I want to go to the U-N and work in human rights, children’s rights. That’s were I am trying to head.

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