A passion for uplifting others

Joya Saxena’25 knew from a young age that she was passionate about social justice, but she was unsure how to apply this passion to a career. Her experiences at Beloit have helped her shape a clearer vision of her future.

Beloit has allowed Joya Saxena'25 to get involved in campus events and social justice work. Beloit has allowed Joya Saxena’25 to get involved in campus events and social justice work. A San Diego native, Joya began her college education at Mills College in Oakland. However, after the school planned to merge with Northeastern University, she decided to look elsewhere. She was familiar with Beloit after applying her senior year of high school, and decided to reapply as a transfer student. “I kind of felt [Beloit] calling me for a couple of years. I didn’t see it at first, but after a couple of years, it’s clear that this is where I belonged all along,” says Joya.

To Joya, the lack of pretension at Beloit was appealing. “It’s frowned upon to talk about your GPA or what grade you got on a test or paper, and I think it goes back to that Midwestern ‘be humble’ and ‘be grateful for what you have’ [mentality],” she says. “In my hometown, there was a lot of that, and it wasn’t a good environment for me.”

She also felt welcomed as a transfer student. “People were always willing to help out. They were like, ‘this is how you navigate cold winters, this is how you dig out your car from the snow,’” she says.

Joya found a particularly strong community in the identity spaces and a way to continue her involvement in social justice work at Beloit. “I was very young when I was in the front seat watching the world on fire,” says Joya. “For me, seeing what was happening in this country made me want to get involved. I’ve been involved in organizing locally for the March For Our Lives movement, climate movements, Black Lives Matter, things of that nature, because it’s something that’s called to me for many years.”

Joya is involved in Asian Pacific Students Association (APSA) and is the program coordinator for Students for an Inclusive Campus (SIC), which relaunched after a yearlong hiatus. “This year, we’ve been responding to different things that have happened in the world and making students feel like they matter,” says Joya. “Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to give back to my community, and I think being part of SIC has allowed me to do that. I just want to give students the support they need and make them feel like they belong on campus.”

So far, the club has organized two vigils, a clothing drive, and a free speech panel. “The events we’ve held thus far have had a lot of turnout…because we’ve focused on things students are passionate about.”

Joya has also become involved in the Weissberg Program in Human Rights and Social Justice as a student worker. Her role involves content creation and helping students understand the goals of the program. She has written articles for the Round Table about the psychology behind misinformation, and has had conversations with student leaders, and helped with Weissberg event promotion. “This job has helped me build my skills, but I’m still testing what it is I want to do,” says Joya. “I want to go into the workforce with a lot to offer.”

While Joya is still figuring out what she wants her future to look like, she knows it will involve social justice. “I want to do something where I know I’m contributing and helping communities. I came to Beloit College to be in an environment where people were interested in uplifting others; that’s been my passion and that’s what I want to do. But knowing what that looks like was hard.”

Joya plans on working with AmeriCorps before settling down in a career. “I want to build myself up gradually, and I think serving in AmeriCorps would be a way to learn about what people need and how to interact with communities,” she says.

For guidance, she visits Career Works. “[They have] really helped students like myself understand what employers want and what skills we need to be successful in the workforce,” says Joya. “Most of the alums that I’ve had conversations with are doing amazing things with their careers. They’re helping people and doing things they’re passionate about. That’s my ultimate goal.”

By: Emma Laus'27
April 11, 2024

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