Living Up to Her Potential

Three scholarships and lots of hard work later, Myca Jester is on her way to medical school


Myca Jester“If it were not for this assistance,” wrote senior Biology major Michaela “Myca” Jester recently in a thank-you note for the Bob and Joan Miller Scholarship, “I would find it a struggle to live up to my academic potential.”


Truth be told, living up to that potential has still been a bit of a struggle at times. Financially independent since graduating from high school, Jester has worked throughout college to pay her bills, even while the Miller Scholarship and the Sally McSpadden Boreham Scholarship, which she received in 2008 and 2009, covered her tuition.


“It’s just hard when you’re a single kid, doing it all on your own,” she says. “It’s hard to afford to stay in school. It’s hard to keep your grades up. But the scholarships have made it a lot easier. Everything helps when you’re in college. Everything.”


Fortunately, Jester isn’t one to back down from a challenge. When she wanted to study abroad but didn’t have the money for airfare, she went to the International Relations office and got a referral to a South Korean university that would pay her airfare, her tuition, and some of her living expenses in return for teaching English. She was also awarded a scholarship for travel abroad, the Bill and Marjorie Dixon Memorial Scholarship. So she packed up and flew halfway around the planet, 20 years old and all alone to Ulsan, South Korea, where she lived, studied, and taught for a full calendar year. “It was amazing, the best opportunity ever,” she says.


It’s only one example of the kind of gusto with which Jester approaches life—both its triumphs and its challenges. Back home, after a stint as president of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, she’s working at a retail store in Central Mall to make ends meet, serving as a Resident Assistant at the Lion’s Den, and taking summer classes, all while studying long hours in the library for her medical school entrance exams.


It’s enough to make you believe the last sentence of that thank-you note: “I promise that you will see this generosity paid forward tenfold in the years to come.”