Mary L. Hayes knows to achieve her goals she has to be better than average. The incoming freshman student from Oakland has interests in medicine, law and music as well as entrepreneurial aspirations.
“I want to be something where I can help somebody, and to do that I’ll have to know a little more than the average person,” she explains. “I know I haven’t learned everything, and I never will, but I want to keep learning my whole life.”
With her natural hunger for knowledge, Hayes has excelled at Castlemont East Oakland School of the Arts, supported by the devoted grandparents who have brought her up.
“They have supported me all the way, absolutely, in all my endeavors and accomplishments,” Hayes says. “They believed me, saw success in me and helped me pursue it.”
Among the activities Hayes has pursued is Youth Sounds, which mentors young people recording their musical creations at its Bay Unity Music Project (BUMP) recording label. Hayes is contributing to two albums through BUMP that will be finished in the latter months of this year. She’s also picking up entrepreneurial ideas and skills through the project. She hopes to continue working with Youth Sounds on her visits home, but also plans to participate in starting a singing group at UC Merced.
“Merced is just far enough away from home that I can learn and grow independently,” she says. “I heard so much about it, and knowing I wanted to develop something of my own, it was my perfect opportunity. I’m going to be a new student, so why not start at a new school?”
Hayes is preparing to arrive on campus this fall by working this summer and pursuing independent scholarship opportunities to supplement the grants and loans she’s receiving. Meanwhile, her contagious excitement is building.
“I’m really, really, really excited about meeting all the other people who are trying to learn, like me,” she says. “I’ll be living on campus, where I can experience more, meet more people and make more friends. I think I’ll really get into the atmosphere at UC Merced.”