Alumni Throwback: Myia Burns

Myia Burns, Sociology Major, May 2015

What was you role with UPC?

I was the UPC Current Events Coordinator, then I was the Vice President of Membership, then I was a member again.

If you could sum up your experience with UPC in one or two words what would it be?

Impactful and fun.

What was one of your first memories of your time at UPC?

I remember when I first joined I met Liz who was the current events coordinator at the time, and then I saw her again during what wasn’t dedicated yet as first flight week–but it was the week before classes when everyone was on campus. I saw her in her green polo and I was like, “oh, I didn’t know you had a job.” And she said, “yeah I’m from UPC, and they’re always looking for volunteers and you’re always welcome to join.” And she told me they have meetings on Mondays, but I had a class right as the meetings were ending. I was coming late but then I met the vice president at the time, Brittney, and I said, “this is really cool and I think I want to join.” The rest is kind of history from there.

What are you currently doing/have been doing since graduating?

After I graduated I did two years of AmeriCorps, I did my first year in Florida helping high school students and I did my second year in Houston helping provide STEM classes for middle school kids. And for the past two years, I have been a college advisor with an organization called the College of the Academic Success Program. So I help high school students once again, but all grades not just seniors, telling and preparing them for college. But especially with the seniors helping them get prepared–applying, finding scholarships, all that stuff.

How do you think your time at UPC attributed to your success and what you’re doing now?

It really helped with being able to plan an event, like if I need a quick event to get seniors excited about college. One thing about UPC is being able to get to know everyone, and so that really helps when I’m trying to get to know students. I think if I hadn’t been in UPC I would be a lot more apprehensive about trying to start a conversation with them, and trying to get to know them right off the bat. I now have a lot more skills building rapport and things like that.

What do you think at UPC had the biggest impact on you?

Definitely my friends. I talk to all my friends at UPC basically all the time, so they easily have the biggest impact. They helped me feel a lot safer at UNT, college was a lot less scary and a lot less intimidating once I had found a niche to be a part of, a group of people I can trust and to this day still talk on the phone to every day.

What was one of the most important lessons you learned by working at UPC?

I think it goes hand in hand, picking a time to know someone really matters. I recently met up with a friend and they were telling me, “I would not have been able to stay in UPC if it wasn’t for you. Like you were the one telling me if you don’t make the meetings then it’s okay. You were always working with us.” I’ve seen a couple of people who were members at the time I was a part of it, and they told me I was just helpful in getting to know them. So just the way you treat people really matters, and that every single person you come in contact with you never know what’s going to happen in the long run. So being able to not burn any bridges.

Do you have a favorite project/moment that stands out to you as being the best?

It’s kind of a tie, one was the walk a mile in her shoes event. I planned that while I was the current events coordinator and it was an event to raise awareness for domestic violence, and guys walked in women’s shoes. We couldn’t do it around campus because it rained so we did it around the Union, so that was definitely very memorable. I think we had 20-25 guys do it and still to this day I cannot believe we were able to make that happen. Another one was being black in modern America, and I guess that started the panels that they do now. That really meant a lot to me, because when I planned it at the time we had not had a black history month event for quite a few years so I knew I wanted to plan something centered around that. But it was really cool to reach out to local black professionals in the Denton community and UNT community getting them to be on this panel. We had a Q&A session with them afterward and it just felt so amazing to plan something like that. It felt really empowering, because it’s cool that they still do the same event but in different ways.

What is something you miss about UNT?

So much, adult life is so much different! Definitely just the sense of community, like from when I first toured UNT to my last day on campus it was just this sense of I know I’m okay walking around campus. I knew I had someone I could come to with this, I have someone I can come to with marketing, I knew who I could go to with this place or this thing. I think because I was involved I just got to know so many people in so many different offices, and that’s a lot harder to do now in the setting that I’m in. It’s a high school so everyone is running at 200mph, doing their own thing, and they don’t have time to stop and talk. But UNT is less individualistic and more of a community feeling and I really miss that.

Do you have any advice for any current students?

Get involved for sure. Find any niche you need to find, a safe space for sure, if you’re worried you won’t find one I promise you will. Just ask! Go to student activities, go to UPC, go to a Union employee, go to whomever you can find and just get involved. I promise once you find a safe space your four years will be the best years ever.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Invisibility.

What’s your spirit animal?

A corgi.

What is your brain food?

Pretzels.

What’s on your playlist?

Podcast: The Reid

Music: East Atlanta Love Letter

What is in your bag?

A notebook.

What is your favorite color?

Yellow.

What is your favorite thing about your current job?

The students, they are so incredibly cooler than I was in high school and they’re insanely talented. They’re very funny, I just wish they would recognize how great they are as much as I recognize it. It’s really hard for them to talk about themselves on their essays, but other than that they are awesome and really fun to work with.