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Written by Anna Christensen, ('22)

Each year, the Hillcrest Scholarship is awarded to students who design unique projects for transformative, off-campus experiences, be it a research program, internship, or creative activity. This year, one winner was junior Mya Baptiste, a Finance Major and Honors Minor from Centerville, NOVA.  

Mya discovered the Scholarship her freshman year through the Honors website and was encouraged by faculty to “create [her] own path” through the program. After meeting with prior applicants and attending numerous interest meetings, Mya applied Fall of 2020 and received funding for her research, which she feels will “help serve the community”. 

Mya’s research begins with her internship with the New York City branch of Citibank this upcoming summer, where she also intends to volunteer at a non-profit that conducts workshops for girls interested in financial literacy. In the Fall of 2022, Mya will give a presentation about her findings, as well as speak about the reality of “black women interning on Wall Street”. Internships are nothing new to Mya, nor is Wall Street, as last summer she was a part of a virtual internship that gave her an opportunity to “immerse myself in the culture”. She looks forward to “applying what I learned last summer” as she fulfills her dream of working in finance - one she has had since she was in middle school.  

Mya’s dream originates from her aunt who works in Brooklyn, as she grew up listening to stories of clients, case studies, and more, all of which seemed “so exciting” to her. The programs at JMU have allowed her to transform this dream into a reality, with the combination of support and rigor that both the College of Business and the Honors Program demand resulting in the highly driven and passionate individual she is today.  

Mya’s involvement with the Honors College began from the first day of her freshman year, as she lived in Shenandoah Hall, the Residential Learning Community for Honors students. “Everyone had the same priorities,” she recalls stating that it was filled with “like minded and focused students” and that it was an enormous benefit to “surround myself with driven people.” Her sophomore year, she studied abroad in London for three weeks, which she describes as “such an awesome opportunity to meet other students in the Honors college and be a global citizen”. She also studied abroad in Berlin the summer before her junior year for a global entrepreneurship program and would love to return to Germany for work.  

Mya is also involved with the Madison Venture Group (which “provides experiential learning and enhances the business knowledge of students in venture capital” within the College of Business), as well as serving as the Vice President of the Women in Business organization. In addition, she serves on the College of Business Advisory Council, works in the financial aid office, and is dedicated to giving her best to every organization she joins. When asked how she narrowed down her passions amidst the numerous offerings JMU provides, she answered, “what am I passionate about? What do I want to gain leadership in?”  

After graduation in the Spring of 2022, Mya hopes to work at an investment bank on Wall Street and spend her weekends volunteering with a non-profit organization dedicated to improving financial literacy, as well as starting her own impact fund (which makes investments for a beneficial social or environmental impact). Her mission? To continue to invest in women and minority owned businesses, to create as many opportunities as possible for women and minorities in the world of Wall Street. 


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