Kenyahn May – Millikin University

Kenyahn May grew up reading about criminal cases and watching crime shows on television. That interest led him to major in criminal justice and sociology at Millikin University. Now a sophomore, May’s interests have grown. And, in his first year in college, he got some helpful guidance as a mentee in ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program at Millikin, he says.

May, of East St. Louis, Illinois, chose to attend Millikin, in part, because he had high-school friends who went there. Plus he spoke with professors teaching criminal justice and believed he could do well at a small college such as Millikin. When he started his college career, May’s long-term goal was to become a lawyer, like family members who are either lawyers or work in the legal profession. “But since I have been exposed to more here at school, I’ve also thought about criminal investigating,” May says. He has discussed with professors possibilities such as attending law school, becoming a lawyer and perhaps working as a criminal investigator for an agency such as the FBI, he says.

May joined the Peer Mentoring Program at Millikin in his freshman year. His mentor was Jaylen Williams, someone he knew in high school. May’s mentor was especially helpful following the death of his grandfather, Walter Jefferson. “He was the only male influence I ever had in my life. I would say I struggled a lot with his death last year,” said May, who says his mother and grandmother are important family figures in his life. He also says his mentor helped connect him to a counselor to help with anxiety issues.

“I don’t think I’d be in the same position right now if I didn’t join this program or just have mentors in general,” May says. “Even before I knew I was going to be in the program, (Jaylen) was already mentoring me in a way. He gave me his cell phone number, Whenever I needed something, he was there. Just to even point in the right direction, those type of things really helped.”

May is especially grateful for donors who make possible the Peer Mentoring Program on 12 ACI-affiliated campuses, including Millikin. “Everybody needs help sometimes, you know? The good you put in something or someone will always come back to you. So I feel like doing good for people goes a long way. You never really know how far it will go,” he says.

May is a dormitory resident assistant and Residential Assistant Peer Mentor at Millikin. He is a defensive back on the university’s football team, member of the Black Student Union and secretary of the Social Action Club, which organizes social activities and events on campus.