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Goodnight Spotlight: Mya McDowell

Goodnight Scholar Mya McDowell doesn’t believe in coincidences. Mya’s motto of “what’s for you will find you,” has followed her from the way she discovered her invitation to apply to the Goodnight Scholars Program to now, only one year away from NC State graduation. Read our latest Goodnight Scholars Program spotlight to read about Mya’s involvement throughout her time at NC State with the Black community and Black student led organizations, and her future plans to pursue Optometry School. 

Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us about yourself and your journey into the Goodnight Scholars Program

Mya McDowell ’23: I am Mya McDowell, a junior majoring in microbiology with a minor in English. I’m from Wendell, North Carolina and I love singing, poetry, and being around friends. My Goodnight story is a funny one because my invitation to apply to the program was sent to my spam folder. So, if I hadn’t checked it that day, who knows where I would’ve been! I knew as soon as I came to Hunt for my interview that I wanted to be a Goodnight Scholar and I wanted to be at NC State. The staff and the students were some of the nicest, most welcoming people. Out of all the schools I’d been to and all the interviews I sat through, none made me feel more at home than the Goodnight Scholars Program did. I can’t imagine my NC State experience without it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How do you see your current academic interest playing a role in this vision for yourself?

Five years from now I imagine myself finishing up optometry school and getting ready to start my life as a full-time optometrist. I think my major plays a huge part in this future because I’m learning all of the physics, chemistries, and other sciences I need to pass the OAT and begin my journey as an eye doctor and focus on serving Black and Brown people in my community.

What are you involved with on campus? What fuels this involvement for you?

I’m Vice Chair of the Black Students Board, chaplain of Uninhibited Praise Gospel Choir, and an undergraduate researcher in a plant pathology lab. My main motivation for these roles is my desire to be involved in the Black community at NCSU. I want to surround myself with Black faces during my extracurriculars since I can’t do that in my classes.

Do you ever grapple with feelings of not-belonging or feeling uncomfortable in certain spaces? If so, what do you do to combat these feelings?

Often. Imposter syndrome is very real and there’s been several times where I’ve felt that I made a bad decision coming to NC State. However, what always lifts me up is my faith. I don’t believe in coincidences and my motto has always been “what’s for you will find you.” If I wasn’t meant to be at NC State, I wouldn’t be. My faith in my abilities and in my Creator keep me going when nothing else does. Another big help is surrounding myself with loving people in my corner who never hesitate to speak life into me when I need it most.

What is a word of advice you would give your first semester self?

I would tell myself that it’s okay to explore and change. Sometimes only you know what’s best for you and you may have to make difficult decisions for yourself, by yourself. It’s perfectly fine (and expected) that you’ll change your mind about several things while you’re in college. I would say that as long as you continue to know who you are, nothing else that anyone says is important.