2018 Alumni Spotlight

Myka Held '09

Myka Held '09 

What were you involved with on campus as an undergrad? (e.g. major, Waltham Group program, other?)

I was a Women's & Gender studies major, an American studies major, and a Legal studies minor. I was the head of the Hunger & Homelessness group for 2 years, and I played club field hockey all four years, as well as a few intramural sports (soccer and inner tube water polo).

Did anything in the Waltham Group impact your career trajectory? Values? Ethics? How else has the Waltham Group impacted you?

I always knew I wanted to work with disadvantaged people but being a leader of Waltham Group taught me more about how to do that and confirmed for me that working with low-income people was what I wanted to do. Being in Waltham Group taught me a lot about professionalism and how to handle disagreements. I think I matured a lot while in Waltham Group. Lucas and Diane were really good models of how to have a sustainable future in public service. I also learned how to use my organization skills to great effect while in Waltham Group and I think that's something I've continued to carry with me.

Career- and service-wise, where are you at right now?

Right now I work for LAF (formerly known as Legal Assistance Foundation) in Chicago, where I offer legal representation to low-income people. I work with sexual assault survivors, helping them obtain divorces, orders of protection, and assisting with education issues. I don't have a lot of free time but I volunteer with a mentoring program through the Chicago Bar Association. I meet once per month with a high school student who wants to become a lawyer and offer her advice and assistance with college applications, school, and jobs.

What advice would you give to other WG students or alumni?

Follow your passion. I've always done it even when people questioned why I would major in Women's & Gender studies, and it has served me well. I now have my dream job and could not do what I do without my educational background.Looking back at your Brandeis experience as an alum, what do you wish you’d done?

Looking back at your Brandeis experience as an alum, what do you wish you’d done?

I have no regrets about how I spent my time at Brandeis.  I had a great time and took advantage of all of the incredible education and social opportunities that Brandeis offered me. I do wish that I had been more knowledgeable about sexual assault in college and been more of an activist during my time at Brandeis. In law school I started a student group addressing sexual violence and I wish that was something I had been able to do at Brandeis.