MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Myya Helm, a West Virginia University student, has been named a Marshall Scholar.

The Marshall Scholar is awarded a chance to “study in the United Kingdom for two fully-funded years toward a graduate degree.”

An Honors College senior from West Union, Helm was one of 41 students selected this year from a pool of more than 1,000 applications. 

Myya Helm will study abroad in Wales after earning a Marshall Scholarship.

“I just feel so strong and empowered having been offered this opportunity to not only just be able to go and study overseas in the United Kingdom, but to be able to study something that’s so important to my identity and my community,” Helm said. “I really want to thank my mentors at West Virginia University and within the surrounding community that have had a part in helping me find who I am as a person and what I want to do with my life and helping me really hone my passions and be able to continue doing what I know that I’m meant to do.”

Starting in Fall 2022, Helm will start a “two-year research Master of Philosophy program at Cardiff University, studying history with a focus on the Welsh history of Black working class coal miners.”

“I think that analyzing history allows us to understand how society behaves, providing the data to create beneficial policy change for the future,” Helm said. “Because of that I want to study Black history in its own right and to document and share the Black experience critically, whether in West Virginia or Wales, to find out what people in the Black community were doing and thinking for themselves.”

Alongside double majoring in political science and international studies, Helm also pursues a minor in Arabic studies. She has “interned with the U.S. Department of State, represented WVU on its United Nations team, worked as a West Virginia state legislative intern, and is a board member for the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival.”

She currently works as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the WVU LGBTQ+ Center

Helm hopes to return to the United States after graduate school to earn her Master of Arts and doctoral degrees in sociology from Howard University.

“There aren’t enough honorifics to describe Myya and the work that she has undertaken in her campus, local, and state communities. She has consistently shown herself as a proven change agent and is a true inspiration for all students, but particularly first-generation West Virginians,” Eric Myers, ASPIRE Office program coordinator, said. 

The Marshall Scholarship was created after World War II as an Act of Parliament in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall.

The program is funded by the British Government with some support from the country’s leading academic institutions and allows bright young Americans to “do graduate work at any university they choose in the U.K.”

“Marshall Scholars continue to represent the very best of American society, from their ingenuity and creativity to their commitment to public service,” said Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States. “For decades, the scholarship has played an important role in supporting young future leaders such as these and I am excited for them to continue their development at some of the UK’s top universities.”

Helm has also been named as a Eberly Arts and Sciences Scholar, Gilman International Scholar and has earned the Boren Scholarship.

Students who are interested can apply by emailing aspire@mail.wvu.edu.