Mya Blanchard earned her associate in English from Nashua Community College in 2021 before heading to Rivier University, and then on to launch her journalism career at the Hippo Press.
After graduating from Nashua High School South, Mya chose to begin her higher education journey at Nashua Community College to stay local, “I live 5 minutes away from here, so I wanted to go to college the most affordable way possible and then go to four-year school after.”
Because of her love of reading and writing, she gravitated toward the English associate degree program, “I’ve always loved reading, and it’s one of my favorite hobbies, I love to write – I love literature in general. And I came in wanting to become a journalist, I’d already decided at that point, so English was the right thing to do.”
The College Experience
While at NCC, Mya kept a career in journalism as her goal, but further defined what kind of stories she wanted to tell. “I went through such a transformation. Thinking about NCC, I think about how far I’ve come, and I think the classes I took helped shape the vision of what I wanted to do. In the capstone class, I watched ‘Spotlight’ about the Boston Globe journalists, and I wanted to write about more serious topics.”
She noted other classes with Professor Ann Healy, including British Literature, explored different themes that were very memorable too. College was also challenging, particularly with time management, she said, “I think balancing my personal work and school life was very hard. I’d go to classes during the day, have a lot of homework, go to work, and come home to homework; there wasn’t a lot of free time.”
Mya completed her program at NCC and transferred to Rivier University in Nashua. “I saw they had an employment promise program, so if I didn’t find a job in my field I could have some of my tuition forgiven or take more classes for free. I thought they must feel confident in their grads getting jobs right away.”
Launching a new career
She studied English and landed an internship for two semesters at the Hippo during her senior year. The internships turned into a job offer. “I really liked the flexibility and freedom journalism careers have. In theory I can work wherever I want, and I get to tell stories.”
While journalism was a natural fit, Mya originally considered a career in music. “It’s funny because I’m a musician, and I always knew I wanted to be a musician.” However, a career in writing seemed more practical, and she considered combining her two passions, “I think it was during my junior year of high school, I thought I could write about music instead, and I got the music journalism idea. But now I want to write about more serious topics like the environment and criminal justice system.”
Over the summer, Mya had the chance to interview best-selling author Ann Patchett, whose work she studied in Professor Jennifer Tripp’s class at NCC.
“I met her on the phone, it was a real ‘full circle’ moment for me. I noticed she was having an event in Concord, and a lot of the Hippo is about what’s happening in the area, and I figured I’d reach out to her. I wasn’t sure I’d hear back because she’s a big author. It was at NCC I was first exposed to her work.”
Professor Tripp recalled Mya took her “Lit by American Women” class and capstone course a few years ago, “I knew she was special! I was so excited when she emailed me this summer to tell me she was about to interview Ann Patchett! Since she knew I love Ann Patchett and because she read one of her novels in my class, she told me it felt like a full circle moment and wanted to tell me. I love that! Mya combined her love of music and writing in her capstone project, titled ‘Music: A Subjective Form of Storytelling.’ Here’s a little excerpt from it: ‘Sounds are an entity of their own, and are pure events. When telling a story, context is needed to connect and sympathize with a character and story. Sound is void of context but full of emotion, and context is not needed to sympathize or convey emotion. A song has a different meaning to every individual because of everyone’s unique experiences. We can all hear the same piece of music, and interpret it differently.’”
Mya said if she could share any advice with new students, it would be to do find joy in their careers.
Advice for Future Students
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