Future Brighter Now for Native Haitian

Published on December 06, 2017

Eastern Kentucky University Senior Kevely Dumay is the model student. Along with his 3.7 GPA, he is a McNair scholar, Chamber Colonel, a member of EKU’s Marketing Club, and will spend next semester as an intern at the state capitol. However, the future wasn’t always so hopeful for the native Haitian.

Originally from the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Dumay experienced firsthand one of the most devastating natural disasters of the 21st century: the 2010 Haiti earthquake. While Dumay and his family were fortunate enough to survive, they lost many of their closest friends and acquaintances to the disaster.      

 “We thought it was the end of the world, people praying in the streets, dead bodies everywhere in the streets,” Dumay recalled. “There just aren’t enough words to describe how terrible it was. We were all afraid to sleep indoors for weeks as the tremors were ongoing.”

In addition to emotional trauma, the earthquake totaled Dumay’s house, and his sister’s business was robbed only 10 days afterward, leaving the family strapped for cash. Dumay’s parents, who had been living the U.S. since the early 2000’s, helped as much as they could, but in 2012, decided it was best for Dumay and his siblings to join them in America.

Dumay was excited for all the new opportunities that awaited him. However, success wasn’t instantaneous. After receiving less than his ideal score on the ACT, he began to question the validity of his goals. “I was told to forget about my dream and that I did not have what it takes,” he recalled. But there was one place he found hope. “Eastern gave me a chance. They believed in me. They gave me room to fail and provided me the resources to succeed.”

Now a senior majoring in international business, Dumay has certainly proven his doubters wrong. As a Chamber Colonel, Dumay serves as an ambassador for the University’s School of Business, working with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, attending various business functions in the community, and networking with local business leaders.

Dumay credits the College of Business and Technology with helping him become the leader he is today. “I attended conferences, networked with great professionals, spoke in front of large groups of people, and gave back to the community,” Dumay explained. “I learned how to work in groups with people whose views differ from mine. I became a better student.”

In June 2017, Dumay used his newfound skillset to land a job as a student worker in the office of EKU President Michael Benson. His duties include office support (answering telephones, filing, and photocopying documents), assisting visiting students with inquiries, and maintaining good rapport with students, faculty and staff. Dumay will take next semester off to intern with the Legislative Research Committee in Frankfort, but he will always remember his time in the President’s office. “I am going to miss the interaction with the president, the provost, the deans, the vice presidents, the professors, the custodial workers and the students,” he said. “It never felt like work to me. We were just a big family, and every morning I looked forward to coming in that office with a big and bright smile on my face.”

He especially enjoyed the opportunity to work with President Benson. “He’s the true definition of a servant-leader,” Dumay said. “He’s helped me in more ways than I can even count; he’s given me career and life advice, and his positive attitude toward life is a trait I have incorporated into my daily routine.”

As memorable as his time at Eastern has been, Dumay is equally excited for the future. After graduation in May 2019, he hopes to continue his studies by obtaining either a Juris Doctorate or a Master of Business Administration degree. Possible career options include working as a lobbyist or an international investment banker.

Above all, Dumay hopes to leave the world a little better than he found it. “I want to be someone kids can look up to. I want to leave a legacy everyone can be proud of. I want to leave my mark on this world.”

- by Yasmin White, Student Writer, EKU Communications and Brand Management