Maya Meade, a junior at Ohio University, is a dedicated student leader committed to educating her peers about civic and community engagement. In the last three years, Maya has founded and led the Best Buddies chapter at Ohio University, served as a peer mentor for multicultural students, and obtained the editor-in-chief position at Backdrop magazine, a student-run lifestyle publication. Additionally, she has served as the communications intern for the Center for Campus and Community Engagement at Ohio University. In each of these roles, Maya has been able to educate and lead others. Best Buddies allows Maya to promote diversity and inclusion for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities while collaborating with the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities to engage with the Ohio University and Athens communities. Being a peer mentor and editor-in-chief gives Maya the opportunity to work directly with students of color to assist them in navigating a primarily white institution and promoting diversity in journalism that extends to all of southeast Ohio. Through all of this work, Maya is dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all that extends beyond Athens, Ohio.
Working on a campaign of any kind is an eye-opening experience, and 2016 was an exceptionally polarizing time in our country. Regardless of who people were voting for, I dedicated my time to registering voters and educating the community. That experience was the beginning of my civic engagement. I started a Best Buddies chapter at my high school to promote inclusion for students with disabilities, and I was the president of Voila, the world language club that worked at food banks to feed the homeless and tutored elementary school students. As an Ohio University student, I have volunteered at Athens Books for Prisoners, promoting literacy for prisoners in Ohio, started a Best Buddies chapter, and coordinated a car wash fundraiser in my hometown for our local NAACP chapter. My experiences informed my journalism and the writing I hope to continue to share with the world. I have written stories ranging from disability awareness, racial disparities, plus-size fashion, and income inequality. Reporting on issues of political unrest and the country’s inequalities will always be a passion of mine and I hope to solve some of the problems our country is facing with my career as a politician later in life.