By Gordon Govier

Maya Williams – Miss Black New Jersey

Spelman College junior Maya Williams had a busy summer back home in New Jersey. She worked as a sales associate at a fashion store, took a sociology course online, and mentored some junior high school students in a Young Life program. She also competed in the Miss Black USA pageant from July 29th to August 3rd in Washington DC.

Maya is involved with InterVarsity’s Esther Circle chapter at Spelman College in Atlanta. As a freshman she was invited to a Bible study, liked it, and decided to participate further. Now she’s one of the leaders of the chapter.

Not Really a Pageant Person

“I never thought of myself as a pageant person growing up,” she said. “But I was looking for scholarships one day and investigated some of the pageants.” She liked the mission statement of the Miss Black USA pageant, which encourages growth in mind, body, and spirit.

She applied, was accepted, and was appointed Miss Black New Jersey. Unlike the representatives from some states, she didn’t have to compete in a state pageant. So she didn’t win a state pageant scholarship. And, well, she didn’t place well enough in Washington to win a national pageant scholarship either.

A Win-Win Situation

Maya said that her experience as a leader in InterVarsity gave her confidence as she experienced the busy week of pageant activities. She knows that God has a role for her whether she has a pageant title or not. She was able to enjoy the experience and is thankful that she was able to participate.

“It was a win-win situation, as I look at it,” she said. She learned a lesson in trusting God and letting his light shine through her. “This was a witnessing experience and a testament to my life. It helped me grow and develop.”

With her sense of purpose and her leadership skills bolstered, Maya is back on campus at Spelman. She is taking classes towards a degree in economics, with a double minor in dance and management. And she is working once again with the leadership team of Esther Circle, organizing programs aimed at sharing the gospel with students on campus.