Maya's decision to pursue a career in the armed forces was rooted in the idea of serving, which she attributes to her time at Stuart. She says, "The idea was ingrained in me since I came to Stuart in Middle School that we're all individuals, but, like the green brick walls, we're all connected by this idea of coming together and helping the community in some way."
Watch the video interview with Maya below to learn more.
The following is excerpted from an interview with Maya when she returned to Stuart for Little Christmas in January, 2018.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN THE ARMY?
The reason I choose to pursue a career in the armed forces was really rooted in the idea of serving. The idea was ingrained in me since I came to Stuart in Middle School with the motto “think, lead, change" — the idea that we're all individuals, but, like the green brick walls, we're all connected in this idea of coming together and helping the community in some way. Our educators, our instructors, everyone [at Stuart] is making us a better person: they're enriching, inspiring, and educating us. I wanted to be able to use what they taught me, and not just take it all in, but also give it back. I had been given this opportunity, this amazing time here, to be able to learn so much and to really think about what it meant to be a citizen, to be like a steward of the Earth. That is the reason I decided to continue along this path of serving. It's not going to stop in Middle School and high school. It has to end eventually, only when I've really done something for my country and this community. That's why I decided to go to West Point and continue to be able to serve my community.
WHAT IS IT LIKE GOING FROM AN ALL-GIRLS ENVIRONMENT TO A PRIMARILY MALE INSTITUTION LIKE WEST POINT?
People at West Point have asked me if there have been any extreme differences from going to an all-girls school to a predominantly male school. For me, I feel like it's very normal when I say that I actually feel like going to an all-girls school makes it feel less different, because [at Stuart] we're all challenged to speak up. When we have something to say, we say it. This is how Stuart has educated or fostered this voice in all of us.
WHAT IS LIFE FOR YOUR LIKE AT WEST POINT?
At West Point, it's a lot about academics, military service, and physical ability. These three branches are all very important in our everyday lives. I think that's something that really suits me because I'm very scholarly, but at the same time, I also want to be able to pursue leadership and service with my academic work. At Stuart, we were able to branch out and develop our own interests. For example, I went on the Appalachia Service Project during the summer and got to see what service was all about and what building up a community was about. That's something that really fits into the idea of being not only so predominately academic but also being a service-oriented scholar. And then with the physical aspects that I have to deal with, there are combatives like fighting, survival swimming, and classes that are all very rough. I had ACL surgery, so I had to be able to toughen up and kind of get through it. I had to go through such a physically demanding environment, but I had to somehow balance everything. I love academics, but you realize that there's more to it than that. That's something that Stuart has really shown me: how to choose my academics in a way to benefit others too.
AT STUART YOU WERE QUITE THE ARTIST. ARE YOU STILL
I'd say that I’m pursuing it in a different way because when I'm there, it's very rigorous. I don't really have much time to sit and ponder about art anymore or really create anything specifically to do with art. I do think that art has really kind of bridged or made me find my kind of niche there. I'm a life science major, and there's a lot of visualization in science. They're all really very connected fields.