Maya Nunn graduated from Mother McAuley in 2016. At McAuley, she was a member of National Honors Society, National English Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, and cheered for St. Rita High School. She was also a member of the first Upperclasswomen Advisory Board at Mother McAuley under the direction of Meg Gardner, Vice Principal of Student Culture. Since her days at McAuley, Maya has always stood out as a leader with her ability to think critically and communicate effectively. Those qualities and attributes have followed her throughout college and her professional career.
After her graduation at McAuley, Maya studied at the University of Missouri, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Spanish. At Mizzou, she was involved in the National Association of Black Journalists and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she served as her chapter’s President.
After graduation, she received her Master’s in Sports and Entertainment Promotion from the University of Houston, and currently works as an Account Executive for a public relations firm, while working as a part time freelancer.
In the summer of 2020, Mother McAuley had the unique opportunity to have ongoing discussions about the challenges our students of color face not only in our world, but as a student. Through the leadership and vision of Maya and her former classmate and friend Cydney Walls ‘16, Mother McAuley established the Young Alumnae Diversity Council (YADC). The council is made up of 12 members who represent various races or ethnicities. These young women continue to work towards goals to advance diversity, equity, and belonging within the academic curriculum, student life, and extracurricular programs.
In strong collaboration with the YADC, the administration of Mother Mcauley was able to facilitate discussions, resulting in action steps for the school years to follow. Maya has been an instrumental leader in the YADC at Mother McAuley, and we are so grateful for her guidance, action, and support in our DEB efforts.
Julissa Rojas ‘22, a senior and a proud member of the Black Student Union, conducted an interview with Maya as our last alumnae feature of McAuley’s Black History Month Celebration.
When you hear Mighty Mac, what do you think of?
“When I hear Mighty Mac I think of a woman who may not be 100% sure of herself but is working to be that. Who is strong and confident and is always looking and willing to progress, not only for personal reasons but for her community as well. I think of someone who has a lot of pride in where they come from. When you talk to McAuley alumnae, all they talk about is McAuley. That’s definitely what I think about, the pride we have in our school, community, and ourselves.”
What is one skill McAuley taught you that you still apply to your life today?
“McAuley taught me to really stand up for myself and be assertive. I feel like as women our voices can get drowned out, especially when you enter the professional world. So McAuley taught me that your opinion matters, your voice matters and you have it for a reason so you should stand up for what you believe in. I think I use that everyday within work, my personal relationships, just in general. I am always going to stand up for myself. If I think something is wrong I am going to make it a point to be known.”
What is the biggest adversity that you overcame when earning your Master’s Degree or at your job?
“If you talk to any recent graduate that had to start the professional grown up life in a remote setting is pretty difficult in general. I think making sure you stand out in a classroom environment where your professors don’t really know you. I never stepped foot on the University of Houston’s campus. So just make sure that you have those relationships with your professors that you would have with your McAuley teachers; they know who Maya Nunn is by really building a rapport and standing out amongst your classmates. It was something that I really had to make an effort to do. At McAuley, it was easy, at Mizzou it was easy, they know who Maya Nunn is. Making myself known at the University of Houston was hard. I got my Master’s in Sports and Entertainment PR. Sports being a male-dominated industry anyway, I had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously as a woman and as a Black woman who wants to work in the industry. Having to prove myself - which is unfortunate that we still have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves. But I think McAuley prepared me well for that.”
We know you have a sister who is a current Mighty Mac, what is one thing you hope she takes away from her time at McAuley?
“I hope Madison comes out of McAuley just as confident and sure of herself as I was when I graduated. Maybe I was a little bit too sure of myself, you couldn’t tell me anything when I graduated. Just finding her voice for sure. I think it is something McAuley is so good at, especially when nurturing such young girls. From 14-18, it is such a pivotal time in your life. I hope that she gets to learn that her voice matters and we want to hear it. You have it for a reason, use it, and don’t let anyone ever take it away from you.”
What is your favorite McAuley memory?
“I think my favorite memory from McAuley was during my senior year. We called it a senior “prank” but it really wasn’t a prank. We all ran out of our classrooms to sing that suscipe together one last time. Looking back on it, it was so corny but so sweet. We were all so excited and even though we left our classrooms to go do this, teachers and administration didn’t get mad, they thought it was the cutest thing ever and recorded it and posted it. It really spoke volumes on who my classmates were and who we were as a class. We were really close and we really enjoyed being together, so that last time singing the suscipe might’ve made me shed a tear, but it was my favorite memory for sure.”
To watch Maya’s interview, click the link here: https://youtu.be/0jFwIiA0VLU