Trailblazer

Rayshawn Riley shows off his diploma at UM-Flint's 2018 December Commencement

When he was still a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, Rayshawn Riley '18 told the local publication Flintside, “I once heard a speaker say, ‘Don’t go where the path may lead, but go where there is no path and leave a trail.’ I knew if I wanted to make a difference, I would have to redefine my values and make a new trail for youth to follow.”

Riley has always defined personal success in terms of the positive, meaningful impact he is able to make in the lives of others. As one of six Diplomat Fellows, he spearheaded an effort with the Ruth Mott Foundation to develop a model for engaging young people from the north side of Flint — where Riley grew up — to prepare them for leadership roles in their community.

Riley credits the opportunities made available to him through UM-Flint's School of Management for helping him forge his path.

"Being a student at the University of Michigan-Flint had a tremendous impact on helping me gain the knowledge and resources to prepare for my internships," Riley said.

After his Diplomat Fellowship, Riley secured a summer internship with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. During his senior year, he was hired as a community coordinator at The Ferris Wheel, an entrepreneurship and innovation hub in downtown Flint providing cowork space and access to experts in turning ideas into thriving businesses. Again, Riley's UM-Flint business education prepared him to succeed in the position.

He said, "Being able to attend various business workshops, speaking engagements, entering a pitch competition, and the career/job fairs on campus are invaluable. The university has proved to be a school of ingenuity and I've been honored to be a part of such an inspiring network of people who work hard to achieve success."

These days, Rayshawn Riley is busy in the role of Flint-based staff assistant of constituent services for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

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