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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Myya Helm

In association with the ongoing generosity of the Eberly family, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board established the Eberly Scholars program in 1988. Each year, up to 25 students majoring in the arts and sciences are designated as Eberly Scholars. They are provided with scholarship support in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement. This award is the Eberly College’s most prestigious scholarship honor for undergraduate students.  Meet all of this year's Eberly Scholars.

Myya Helm
Hometown: West Union, West Virginia
Majors: Political Science and International Studies
Minor: Arabic Studies

How did you choose your major?

I chose to double major in Political Science and International Studies because I knew I wanted to become a part of something bigger than myself. Coming from a small town in West Virginia as a racial and cultural minority, I always pushed to understand more about the world and its different people. With a never-ending want to increase mutual understanding, learning more about the cultures, languages and religions beyond our nation’s borders has continually fascinated me throughout my life. This, paired with my passion for addressing contemporary issues that affect marginalized and vulnerable populations, drove me toward the majors that would dive deeply into global policy and society where I knew I could make a positive change as a global citizen.  

How would you explain your major to a new WVU student? What advice would you give them?

Political science and international studies encompass political systems and philosophies that impact how global society functions and why it functions in the way it does. To be successful in these majors, you must have a passion for international change and a willingness to learn more about those that are unlike yourself. Patience is key in understanding, and once you understand, doors will open that you may have never even noticed were there.

Myya Helm

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

These majors have allowed me to discover my interest in cross-cultural relations and refugee policy. The courses I have taken have allowed me to develop the knowledge, understanding and interdisciplinary skills needed to gain a career working with migrant populations. Upon completing my academic career and becoming well-versed in cross-cultural relations and refugee policy, I hope to work for the United States Department of State in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Specifically, I want to be a regional English language officer in the Office of English Language Programs. Through this position, I would design and oversee English as a Second Language programs through American embassies and consulates and promote English learning to specific groups such as refugees and internally displaced persons. This work will ultimately increase access to academic and professional opportunities in America and overseas  for foreigners.  

Myya Helm

What was your most memorable moment at WVU?

Model United Nations has been a part of my college career since my freshman year. For international studies students, the United Nations is essential in learning more about how our world functions and cooperates. During my first Model United Nations conference, I remember walking into the General Assembly Hall, a place where the world’s most famous and infamous figures have spoken. Everything I had  l earned in the classroom became a reality, and I suddenly stood in a place that held an immeasurable amount of world history. I was able to imagine all of the events that happened there as if they were taking place in the present, and for the first time, I was able to envision a small-town West Virginian like myself being a part of the global stage.  

Myya Helm

What was the hardest (Eberly College) class that you loved? Why?

The hardest class I’ve taken was POLS 300: Empirical Political Analysis. The course was especially demanding, often took up a large chunk of my time and challenged me as a student. However, it also allowed me to pursue my own research on racial politics for the first time as a black woman. I learned more about policy misconduct among minority populations, compiling data from previous related studies as well as reports on proportional representation and police perception. In the end, I fully examined and confirmed the theory that increased racial representation within police forces reduces instances of police misconduct among minorities.

Do you have a favorite professor or instructor here? What makes them special?

Dr. Clarissa Estep has helped me navigate college life over the years as a first-generation West Virginian since she is a first-generation West Virginian herself.

Myya Helm

What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?

Being a Mountaineer means being welcoming, inclusive and understanding. Mountaineers are kind, generous and personable. As a black woman from rural Appalachia, promoting love, acceptance and inclusivity no matter your race, color,  r eligion, sexual orientation or gender identity has always been important to me. WVU is a place that welcomes and respects all people, no matter who you are. Mountaineers will always greet you with a smile and treat you like you’re family. As a lifelong Mountaineer, I embody this attitude every day. Mountaineers will welcome you home with open arms to West Virginia as if you've lived here your entire life – and so will I.

Describe the best thing that’s happened to you at WVU so far.

WVU has allowed me to establish connections and create relationships all around the world that will last a lifetime. As a student, I have been fortunate enough to travel to eight countries on three different continents. In almost every one of these, I have friends that I can talk to, that I grab a cup of coffee with and that would offer me a place to sleep if I needed it. Having these ties across the globe is something that I would’ve never experienced had it not been for WVU. With the help of the study abroad office, the ASPIRE Office and my professors, I became a Gilman Scholar and a Boren Scholar and will continue traveling and making friends for years to come.

Myya Helm abroad

What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as an Eberly Scholar? How has this opportunity made a difference in your life?

When I found out I was selected as an Eberly Scholar, I was immediately excited and honored. I had been anxiously awaiting to hear back from the Eberly Scholars program and could not have been more proud to receive the Eberly College’s most prestigious scholarship honor for undergraduate students. As a first-generation college student and a Pell Grant recipient, being an Eberly Scholar has supported me financially during my time at WVU. With the help of scholarship support, I can pursue my studies without worrying about the financial burden. This opportunity has allowed me to continue my studies around the world in places like Japan, China and Jordan. Through this, I will continue to become a global citizen that learns about some of the world’s biggest political challenges firsthand.