For the past ten years the Wayne Township Trustee Office has been awarding scholarships to high school graduates who were on their way to attending institutions of higher learning. It has always been a wish of ours to follow up on the scholars we have helped over the years to find out how their school careers progressed and what they have done with their education. Recently the chance to do just that came to us in the form of a new employee.
In 2016 then Trustee Rick Stevenson awarded Recognizing Achievement Scholarships to three high school graduates, one of whom was Ms. Maya Gates. In the Waynedale News we wrote this about her achievements in winning the RAS: “Maya Gates, who graduated this June (2016) from Wayne High School, will be attending Indiana University at Bloomington. Maya was accepted to IU’s “Groups Scholar Program” meaning that she is the first in her family to attend a four-year college, and she will receive special consideration from them throughout her college career until graduation. Recommended by her high school counselor for her dedication to her studies (she graduated with a 3.77 grade point average on 4.00 scale) while maintaining a well-rounded life, Maya has been active not just in her studies but in volunteer work at Lutheran Life Villages and in varsity basketball, track, and volleyball. She plans to study Neuroscience and will minor in Actuarial Science and Spanish.”
Maya did as she planned, graduating in four years from IU Bloomington with a degree in Cognitive Science and a minor in Gender Studies. She then came back to Fort Wayne and worked as an RBT (Registered Behavioral Technician) with children diagnosed with autism. Then this August Maya applied to become an investigator at the Wayne Township Trustee Office.
Asked about her career path, Maya said that she has always liked learning and making connections with people who may see the world in unique ways. “I’ve always been interested in what makes people think the way they do,” and the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science studies just that through psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics and thinking. With that interest and her desire to return to her roots in Fort Wayne and help people, Maya is showing much potential to being as successful here at the township and beyond as she has been in her educational career.
Trustee Stevenson was a great believer in the power of education which is why he started the RAS awards (renamed the “Richard A. Stevenson Sr. Scholarships” in his honor), and our current trustee, Austin Knox, himself the son of educators, believes the same—that education is key to a successful life.