Maya Ward-Caldwell ’22 credits a first year class at Albright College for sparking an ongoing passion for research, an interest that has served her well in classes and the internships she’s pursued.
“I’ve been able to be successful in several internships and my classes, partially based on my ability and interest in qualitative research,” said Ward-Caldwell, who grew up in Baltimore. “A paper I wrote during my first year solidified my interest in research in institutional issues and religious studies.”
A sociology major with a minor in history that focuses on African American and Asian studies, Ward-Caldwell took a first-year seminar titled “Dining with God,” examining Jewish and Christian approaches to food and spirituality with Samira Mehta, Ph.D.
“I’ve always had an interest in religion and faith, and the class intensified that interest,” Ward-Caldwell explained. “Dr. Mehta was very influential to me and set the tone for my learning at Albright.”
She also credited Albright sociology professors, particularly her advisor, Barton Thompson, Ph.D., and Kennon Rice, Ph.D.
“Dr. Rice is without a doubt my favorite professor in my department,” Ward-Caldwell said. “The first course I took with him was Social Stratification, and I still have my notes from that class. I had such a good time learning from him, and he’s been immensely helpful to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in his office.”
Ward-Caldwell parlayed her interest in research to a project during her first internship with the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP), a position she held during the summer following her first year. While there, she researched the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law designed to encourage banks to extend credit to people who live in low-and-moderate-income communities, and compiled her analysis in a report that BRHP incorporated into its strategic plan.
“I sort of created that project for myself and took a deep dive into researching the relationships of large, national banks with area non-profits and agencies,” Ward-Caldwell said. “It was a valuable experience for me.”
She also served as an intern for the Fund for Albright, and currently is a fund development intern with the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The NLIHC internship, which she began in August, has been extended, and Ward-Caldwell plans to apply for a position with the agency when the internship ends.
“I feel pretty workforce-ready because of my internships and academic work at Albright,” she said.
Ward-Caldwell’s years at Albright have been busy, as she holds the position of student lead and supervisor at Jake’s Place and is a member of the Black Women Leadership Association. While much of her decision to study at Albright was based on the financial aid package she received, the college turned out to be a perfect match.
“It definitely was the right choice,” she said. “Every professor I’ve had has been really invested in me, both in the classroom and personally. They’ve responded to my interests and encouraged me to pursue them. And that’s something I’ll always appreciate about Albright.”