University of Vermont

2012 University of Vermont Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni Award to Kesha Ram ’08, Burlington, Vt.

Kesha Ram (right) and her mentor and advisor Associate Professor Clare Ginger. Photo by Jon Erickson
Kesha Ram (right) and her mentor and advisor Associate Professor Clare Ginger. Photo by Jon Erickson

Kesha Ram graduated from UVM magna cum laude in 2008 with degrees in natural resource planning and political science. She later completed a public law program at American University in Washington, D.C. During her tenure at UVM, she was the first person of color and the seventh woman to fulfill a term as the Student Government Association president. In that role, she represented nearly 10,000 young people while overseeing a budget of $1.5 million and 150 student organizations. She also taught preschool, serving as the head start advocate at Burlington Children’s Space and led the policy team for Burlington’s Climate Action Plan. The sense of community and connection to the natural world she found in Burlington, she has said, drew her to make it her permanent home.

Kesha was elected state representative on Nov. 4, 2008, and was sworn in on Jan. 7, 2009. She served for three years as the clerk of the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee and was subsequently appointed to the Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over revenue generation for the state. She also serves on the Joint Legislative Technology Committee.

Kesha is a passionate leader advocating for green job creation, affordability of early childhood and higher education, reducing environmental toxins, tribal rights and recognition, accessible health care and affordable housing.

Outside of the legislature, Kesha is the legal director for Women Helping Battered Women, assisting victims of domestic violence in the courtroom and throughout family and criminal legal proceedings. She serves on the boards of the Center for Whole Communities, the Sudan Development Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont.

Kesha’s leadership and service have earned her notable recognition and distinction. She has been named a Lola Aiken Scholar, Morris K. Udall Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and Harry S. Truman Scholar. She is a member of the University of Vermont Tower Society and Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and was named an Oxfam “Sister on the Planet” Climate Change Ambassador.