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Published May 7, 2024


From school psychology student to successful entrepreneur

GSE alumna empowers and advocates for others around the world

University at Buffalo alumna Keba M. Rogers, BA ’00, MA ‘04, PhD ‘10, has recently made waves in the field of psychology and education with her successful business ventures, including her consultancy practice Keba S.P.E.A.K.S., LLC Established in 2021, Keba S.P.E.A.K.S. works with schools and organizations around the world, serving people through empowerment, activation, knowledge and support (S.P.E.A.K.S.).

How did she decide to start this venture? “This is what I've been doing my whole existence,” she said.

As CEO and founder, Rogers provides individuals with resources to accept and empower themselves, fostering a motivation to bring forth their genuine selves in both professional and everyday settings (activation). This process involves educational initiatives covering various aspects of self and the world, promoting awareness and understanding (knowledge). Additionally, it includes establishing foundational skills to assist individuals on their path toward success (support).

“I have this knack for providing dense intellectualized information in a simple, actionable way… And, I just said to myself, ‘I should offer consultation,’” she explained. “People always ask me, ‘Hey, can you come speak with our school? Hey, can you do this talk?’ And I was like, ‘That’s a lot of work’—It's not just the hour that I'm talking; it's all the research and preparation that I have to do. So I was inspired to formalize this and turn it into a business.

“In the last couple of years, I've been working consistently with a couple of organizations, both of which are international… I've been doing a lot of work, mostly around the connection between emotional intelligence and diversity, equity and inclusion. I've done a lot of work around that since George Floyd’s murder,” Rogers continued. “That has been a main point—helping people understand emotional intelligence or social and emotional skills, and then that connection with DEI as well as trauma.”

In addition to her consulting services, Rogers offers individual and group therapy, psychological assessments, and parent education through her private practice, Third Avenue Psychological Services, PLLC, established in 2019.

Originally from Mount Vernon, New York, Rogers credits her success in business and psychology partly to the experiences and education she received as a student at the Graduate School of Education.

After completing GSE’s master's program with an advanced certificate in school psychology, she worked as a school psychologist in the Syracuse area before returning to UB and earning her PhD in GSE’s combined doctoral program in counseling psychology and school psychology. She was awarded a Schomburg fellowship in both her master’s and doctoral programs—a testament to her dedication and potential.

Keba Rogers.

Keba Rogers, BA ’00, MA ‘04, PhD ‘10

As a GSE student, she actively participated in CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) and the Cora P. Maloney Center, where her experiences as a graduate assistant were pivotal. “I was born and raised in Mount Vernon and the Bronx, but I feel like I grew up in Buffalo; I became an adult and found a nonbiological family. That is truly how I feel about the [Cora P. Maloney] family.” According to Rogers, that family included the late John M. Staley, former headmaster of Cora P. Maloney Center; Shanna Crump-Owens, director of CSTEP; Letitia Thomas, assistant dean for diversity in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and former director of the Cora P. Maloney Center; and Curtis Hamm, former public service and internship program coordinator in the Cora P. Maloney Center.

During her doctoral program, Rogers also found inspiration and guidance from mentors like former GSE Dean Mary Gresham, whom she describes as her "auntie away from home." Gresham's attentive listening and encouragement impacted Rogers, shaping her perspective and influencing her decisions. “She was pretty amazing. What stuck out for me most was that she listened. With many people, it didn't feel like they were listening to me. But she would listen and say things like, ‘Well, what do you think we should do?’ And I think that was the first time I was asked that,” Rogers recalled.

Another influential figure in her academic journey was the late LeAdelle Phelps, former GSE dean and professor, who was a mentor and advocate. With Phelps’ encouragement, Rogers recalls learning to critically assess and choose her battles as a student and professional, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing and adapting to different situations.

"I just think that UB was foundational in my growth and development as an adult and as a professional," Rogers said.

She remains connected to her alma mater today, giving back to the UB community in meaningful ways. She returns every year to speak about self-care and provide mentorship to current CSTEP students, embodying the spirit of community and support that she experienced during her academic journey. Additionally, she supports two students per semester by donating to the CSTEP Student Research Scholarship Program to help support research experiences that are critical for student success.  

Whether working with UB students or organizations across the globe, her commitment to advocating for and empowering others remains unwavering: "I feel like my purpose on this earth is to be a voice for the voiceless. I hope that I can speak to challenges, discomforts and other things that are taboo,  bringing them to the surface in a way that helps with problem-solving around making things better for folks, giving people skills, and empowering them to live their most authentic lives."

Tuesday News Briefs feature the stories of the Graduate School of Education faculty, students and alumni who are engaged in their communities and making an impact through their hard work, dedication and research initiatives. If you have a story to share, please email us with the details for consideration as a future news feature.