Talk about an eventful summer. In May, Kei’shan Scott graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a social work degree. Three days later, he was elected to City Council in his hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina. On July 1, the 22-year-old will take office as one of the youngest council members in Lee County, and in August he’ll continue his education at USC as a graduate student.
Scott thrives on staying busy. In 2019, he simultaneously earned his high school diploma at Lee Central High School and an associate’s degree from Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter. At the university, he was involved in a number of organizations, including the South Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Black Students Business Association, the NAACP and South Carolina College Democrats.
As a University 101 peer leader, he worked with freshman adjusting to college life to help them be successful students. And by the way, he also ran a successful City Council campaign.
Taking on a leadership role in his community exemplifies Scott’s calling to public service and desire to help others, which also fueled his motivation to pursue a social work degree.
“I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am who I am today because of my hometown
community, and my reason for running was very simple. I want to give back to the individuals
who have poured so much into me,” he says. “It’s a way to serve them in a greater
capacity and to assist them in moving our community forward.”
He focused his campaign on youth engagement in civil service, community outreach and volunteering as well as downtown revitalization for Bishopville.
Volunteering is something Scott knows a little about. The oldest of five children, he was raised by his parents, Lashan Scott and Tiffany Carter, and his grandmother, Gloria Scott. His grandmother was executive director of a local senior center.
“I would spend my summers there with the older adults assisting with activities, meals and daily devotional services,” Scott says. “That’s where I found my niche and my passion for social work and public service.”
As a first-generation college student, he says his family has been his biggest inspiration and source of support.
“When I told them I wanted to attend the University of South Carolina, the very first question they asked was, ‘What can we do to make it possible?’” he says.
USC’s social work program was important in Scott’s decision, and as a TRIO Opportunity Scholar and first-generation student, he had access to advisement and support to help build a strong academic foundation. But the campus also offered something not quite so tangible.
“The entire process and transition to college was seamless,” he says. “It had a sense of feeling at home. So without a doubt, it was USC for life.”
When he completes his master’s degree, Scott would like to attend law school and perhaps practice family, estate planning or elder care law. He is currently a preacher and also has an interest in becoming a licensed funeral director.
“The university has helped me build and amplify skills to prepare me for my long-term goals,” he says.
And for a guy who embraces diverse opportunities, what is one of the most important skills he’s developed?
“Learning how to prioritize.”