When then-Belinda N. Booker, a May 2002 graduate, was a student, she had many choices, "do I become a newscaster like Jackie Simien, a talk show host like Oprah Winfrey, or do I become Belinda N. Booker, the computer genius?" Well, she chose the latter, despite her love for news and computers almost equally. Then, she would soon fall in love with a classmate, Anthony Mays, who would later change her name to Belinda N. Mays in 2004.
Mays loved school.
"I am a very academic person," she said. In middle school, Mays recalled taking honor classes; high school was another story.
"I wanted to have fun (in high school)," Mays said jokingly. But when she made it to Huston-Tillotson University, it was back to the dedication that was most rewarding in middle school.
Mays really enjoyed Huston-Tillotson.
Huston-Tillotson University is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.
"I saw students who were smart, and I put my best foot forward." The only "B" that Mays received was from her Calculus 2 professor, Dr. General Marshall. To this day, Mays feels that she received that B because she was late for class after having to move off campus her senior year.
"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it," Mays insisted, jokingly and seriously.
Mays started in mass communications and loved it. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of Oprah or Jackie Simien after watching Oprah on TV and having a visit from Simien at Mays' Beaumont, Texas high school. Mays also enjoyed writing and asking people's opinions on topics, so she wanted to perform these duties in the journalism field. Quite naturally, she declared the mass communications major.
And just like Anthony swept her off her feet, a web design class did the same. In that class, Mays learned how to build websites and more such as flash animation. She fell in love with computers, so much so that she changed her major to computer science.
"It was the instant feedback and feeling of you being able to create something" that drew Mays to computers.
Mays credits Huston-Tillotson for setting her on a career path. The university held its semester's career fair, and she submitted her resume to the local office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She received an internship there during her senior year, graduated, and was hired full-time with the office as a computer specialist.
The Mays moved to Dallas where she now works for Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company. Mays remains with Lockheed, today as a Business Systems Integration Analyst, following multiple promotions.
Mays is very pleased with her love story that unfolds to reveal a big heart for computers, communications, and family.
"I thank God for who He has allowed me to become."
Huston-Tillotson University website, Austin, Texas
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.