FSU SGA President Receives John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award

Date: November 27, 2023

Maya Martin

Fayetteville, N.C. - Fayetteville State University (FSU) two-term Student Government Association President was honored with the 2023 John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award for Exceptional Leadership in Civic Innovation by NC Campus Engagement.

Maya Martin was selected as the award winner after a competitive state-wide nomination process among higher education institutions across North Carolina. The recognition highlighted her exceptional leadership and innovation in civic engagement. She has developed a reputation as a catalyst for positivity on campus and in her community.

“I’ve witnessed Maya creating and executing ideas to improve the student experience and to move our university forward,” said Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Director Sherree Davis, Ed.D. “She is very deserving of this recognition as an unwavering, compassionate and engaging leader on our campus, and as a representative of Fayetteville State University within the community and across North Carolina.”

Maya’s leadership also includes Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Chapter President, Student Government Association Presidents Consortium Region Director, and myFutureNC intern, and her journey to leadership at FSU began as the Freshman Class President. Throughout her college career, she has tirelessly pursued initiatives to elevate the voices her peers and community members and empower them to make a difference. Eventually, her work earned her distinction as a “civic engagement champion.”

One of Maya’s proudest achievements is her role in the success of the "Trot to the Polls" event, which she organized and rallied more than 100 student and local community representatives to march to the polls. Her ability to motivate students to actively participate in the democratic process and understand the power of their vote helped lead the campus to a 97% voter registration rate.

For her work in civic engagement, she was featured on the local news and newspaper, recognized in the Forbes 2023 ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll, selected as the Voter Registration, Education, and Mobilization Lead and Ambassador and Student Representative for the Voter ID Taskforce.

Maya Martin

Maya Martin, right, with Leslie Garvin, Executive Director of NC Campus Engagement.

Maya attributes much of her success in civic engagement to the example set by her grandparents, who worked at voting polls for local and national elections, and her parents who instilled the importance of an active voice. Maya also recognizes the support of campus advisors, who demonstrated the power that she had to affect real change on campus and in the world. Particularly, Davis was noted as a constant mentor and support to Maya during her time at FSU.

Following graduation, Maya has ambitions to merge her love for higher education with her interest in politics by continuing to work within the UNC System, running for elected office, and eventually achieving the position of North Carolina Governor.

Maya accepted the 2023 Barnhill Civic Trailblazer award at the 2023 NC Campus Engagement CSNAP Student Conference on Nov. 4 at NC State University.

Created in 2011, the Barnhill Award is named for John H. Barnhill, who founded innovative service programs while a student at Elon University. Mr. Barnhill later became the founding Executive Director of North Carolina Campus Compact (now NC Campus Engagement).

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