Myya Helm, from West Union, will graduate with degrees in political science and international studies and a minor in Arabic studies. She has served as the vice president of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, a mentor for M-Power program and has held several leadership positions in the Student Government Association.
A first-generation student, Helm has maintained a 4.0 while immersed in rigorous coursework, study abroad and research, while serving as an activist for racial equity and justice in her communities.
Helm has also served as an AmeriCorps Vista and has helped train more than 1,000 individuals as an anti-racist and gender-inclusive training facilitator for the WVU LGBTQ+ Center.
She notes her most rewarding experience at WVU has been her involvement in the NAACP, where she had the opportunity to hone her efforts aimed at empowering West Virginia's Black communities through race-conscious education and policy change, and, publicly advocate for anti-racism education in academia.
Helm is currently studying Arabic as a Boren Scholar at the Noor Majan Arabic Institute in Muscat, Oman. In 2019, she had an opportunity to study abroad in Amman, Jordan, and in 2018, she studied in Kyushu, Japan.
In 2021, she served as a research associate with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, where she studied Black worker power and unionization to assess the history of labor, race and solidarity to strengthen the rights of all working West Virginians’ today.
After graduation, as a Marshall Scholar, she will start a two-year master’s program at Cardiff University in Wales to study the comparative history of Black working-class coal miners in South Wales and West Virginia.
After graduate school, Helm plans to earn her doctoral degree in history or sociology from Howard University, and ultimately, serve as a professor at WVU.