Scholar Speed Round: 2018 Bezos Student Scholar Makayla Rose Dawkins
Makayla is in the accelerated program at the University of Connecticut, studying gender and human development, which allows her to earn a Master’s in Public Health at the completion of her studies. Makayla’s passion for advocacy and interest in public health is attributed to her upbringing in her hometown of New Haven, Connecticut where she first started serving her community. Her lived experience growing up as an independent student, coupled with her involvement in the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., motivates her to continue living a life in service to others.
Makayla was a 2018 scholar, and her Scholar project, “Healthy Communities = Thriving Schools,” addressed the lack of social-emotional support and services available to underrepresented populations in her community. To address the stigma around mental health, Makayla and her team designed a health-summit where she asked various organizations and community leaders in the health space to present and provide mental health resources. The health summit emphasized how non-traditional practices, such as art and self-expression, can be used as tools for navigating trauma and mental health.
Here are 10 semi-random questions and answers with Makayla:
Share a favorite memory from when you were a Scholar: A favorite memory was attending Aspen Ideas Festival and going up an Aspen Mountain on the gondola.
Complete this sentence, “If you really knew me, you would know….” that I love fashion, and in particular, Telfar, a black-owned unisex fashion brand.
If you had a theme song, what would it be and why? My theme song would be Alien Superstar by Beyoncé as it truly captures the essence of who I am.
Reflecting on a challenge you have faced, what was a choice you made during that time and the change that occurred because of it? When I think back to a challenge I navigated, I made the active choice to respond with silence and allow nature to take place. By pausing and letting things happen naturally, the relationship I had was saved.
Scholar’s choice: What is a book that you recently read and recommend? I recommend reading Lighter by Young Pueblo.
At this moment in your life, what are you most proud of? I am most proud that I will complete multiple degrees. I attribute my success and my degrees to my late mother who had me when she was a teenager.
If you had a podcast, what would it be about? My podcast would be about how I am an involved student and high achieving in my studies but still feel very awkward. I feel like I don’t fit in and know that I am truly different, and I’d want to share with others how I navigate the world.
Describe the last time you remember feeling truly joyful. The last time I was joyful was this summer when I traveled across the United States. I was able to visit five new states!
When was the last time you felt vulnerable in a good way? The last time I felt vulnerable was when I started to go to therapy again; I realized how important my mental health is.
What is the one thing you’re deeply grateful for right now? I am grateful for my village of supporters. This village includes my siblings, the AmeriCorps members I spend time with, my AKA sorority sisters and my family.
We’re grateful to have you as part of the Scholar community. Thank you, Makayla!