Senior Profile: Elva Joya

Joya posing with her parents (Photo courtesy of Elva Joya)

What is your major and minor? What other academic programs were you a part of?

Major: Psychology Minors: Biology, Chemistry, Spanish Academic Programs: Honors Program and Global Fellow

What are some of the jobs you held while at McDaniel?

I held a few jobs. I was a note taker my First and Second Year. I worked at the Wellness Center as a Public Outreach Specialist my First Year. I worked as an Resident Assistant from my Sophomore to now as a Senior, having been Head RA for independent housing my Junior year. I worked for the Center for Experience and Opportunity as a CEO ambassador my Sophomore through the Fall semester of the Senior year.

What organizations were you a part of at McDaniel? What positions did you hold?

HLA – President for two terms, Treasurer for one term, P2W – Vice-President and Tutor, LULAC – Vice-President and Secretary, Honors Program – Event Coordinator, STEM Club, Pre-Health Club, Tri-Beta Biology Honors Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honors Society, Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society National Society, Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, Global Fellows 

Have you enjoyed your time at McDaniel? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

I have enjoyed my time at McDaniel tremendously. I enjoyed the lifelong friends that I have made over the years, building the Latinx and ally family network, building professional connections with my mentors and being able to spend time on this beautiful campus.

Who do you think was/is your best mentor?

It is really hard to choose because I had mentors for different aspects of my life. My mentors include Dr. Amy McNichols, Dr. Dana Ferraris, Dr. Manuel Ruiz, Dr. Katie Staab, Professor Sarah Lippy, Dr. Paul Mazeroff and Martha Smith. <3

Describe your favorite memory at McDaniel.

Hands down, the whole preparation process and execution of The 18th Annual McDaniel College Hispano-Latinx Alliance. It was the first we had been able to do this since the Fall semester of my sophomore year due to COVID. I was impressed by the collaboration and the fun we had with the whole HLA familia. Additionally, I cannot forget all the days and nights that I spent with my Best Friend Christian Torres when we lived in North Village my Junior year. We really made the apartment a home especially in the Spring semester.

What are some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?

When COVID hit, I was able to be more in touch with my emotions and it was then when I realized that I was avoiding them by being so productive. Therefore, having to cope with everything hitting me at one was challenging. I also suffered from severe burnout trying to do everything all at once. It took some time, self-care and therapy to get myself back together, but I am so grateful that this happened during this time where I was very supported by my campus resources, my friends and my loved ones.

What are your plans for after graduation?

Sleep… lots of sleep… I will be taking a much needed break after my undergrad to find myself outside of academics and to determine what really makes me happy. I want to engage in new adventures outside of my comfort zone to nourish my brain and my soul. Then, I will be connecting back to the world after approximately a year and work as a medical scribe or for a BioTech company while taking Physics 1 and 2, then, preparing for the MCAT and applying to medical school so that I can specialize as a Child Psychiatrist.

What advice would you give yourself as a first-year student at McDaniel?

 I would advise a first year student to not overbook themselves their first year and to enjoy and take advantage of every opportunity that comes to them from the Office of Student Engagement. I would also advise them to use Google Calendar to plan out their whole life hour-by-hour because it helped me ensure that I was where I needed to be 24/7. I would also advise a first-year to be open-minded and start a conversation with anyone, you never know what could become of it. Go where your heart takes you and remember that you can quite literally create anything on this campus if there is not a space where you feel like you fit in. Go to your professors office hours, these are the connections that you are going to need following your undergrad years— their networks are huge! Above all, prioritize your mental and physical health. Nothing matters more.

Where do you see the world in 10 years?

I hope the world is kinder, healthier and more compassionate.

How do you reflect on your senior year during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic?

It was a shock to come back to completely in-person classes and living accommodations. It was a hard adjustment coming from being online and hybrid, the expectations were back on and we as a community were not used to being so productive after having been stagnant for many semesters. I do not recommend this experience for anyone, especially being so restricted.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the McDaniel community?

Just because I will have graduated, does not mean that I will not stay connected to the McDaniel community. I wish everyone the best and to remember to take care of yourselves and each other.