Honors College Alumna Speaks Up for Those with No Voice

Maya Huffman, ’22, Tackles Law School Along with Big Dreams


Headshot photo of Honors College alumna Maya Huffman.

Honors College alumna Maya Huffman, a native of Toledo, graduated a semester early from Kent State in December 2022, as a double major in psychology and political science with a minor in pre-law. Her story is not only one of academic achievement but also one of community engagement and a commitment to addressing important societal issues.

Huffman describes the way the Honors College and Honors Leadership Academy (HLA) helped her to be more comfortable with living far from home as a first-year student at Kent State, as well as played a significant role in shaping her college experience. 

“I stayed really connected to HLA as much as possible just because it's a tremendous impact on my life as a little freshman,” she said. Huffman highlighted the challenges of being far from home and the importance of finding a supportive community.

Huffman said she became very close with many of her peers and staff in the Honors College because of her involvement in Honors Leadership Academy, which she participated in her first and second semester as a freshman.

“It was just really special to have that same group of people because, yeah, you can have your [freshman] honors colloquium, but it was just even more special to have a group so tight-knit,” she said. HLA provided her with a close-knit group of friends, helping her navigate the transition to college life and fostering a sense of empowerment that lasted throughout her academic journey. Many of the fellow honors students that Huffman became acquainted with as a freshman in Honors Leadership Academy are still close friends that she is connected with today.

As a student at Kent State, Huffman started a group called KSU Blue, in an effort to spread awareness of the human trafficking crisis in the U.S. She was inspired to do this after an Honors College service project trip to Washington, D.C., where she and her Honors Leadership Academy classmates had the opportunity to meet with former U.S. representative for Ohio, Tim Ryan.

Huffman said the group of students started picking the representative’s brain on the topic of human trafficking and became inspired to bring awareness to northeast Ohio. After returning to Kent State following the service project trip, Huffman and a few HLA members began brainstorming options to bring human trafficking awareness to Kent State and the local area. She says they were eventually guided in the direction of creating a student organization with Kent State’s Center for Student Involvement.

Amidst the planning for the creating of KSU Blue, Maya’s semester was interrupted by the Covid pandemic, and Kent State University students completed the remainder of the semester remotely. Huffman commented that despite the pandemic, the process for creating the student organization went very smoothly and planning meetings were conducted via Zoom and Facetime phone calls. KSU Blue became Maya's platform to drive change and create awareness about the complexities of human trafficking in Northeast Ohio.

Huffman's dedication to combating human trafficking extended to her Senior Honors Thesis/Project, where she conducted interviews with professionals in the field. This commitment laid the foundation for her transition to law school, where she is currently enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. The Kent State alum secured a fellowship through the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, a testament to the impact of her work in addressing human rights issues, especially related to human trafficking.

Reflecting on her law school experience, Huffman shared that the first year is intense, with a focus on foundational courses required for the bar exam. Despite limited course choices in the first year, she looks forward to exploring more elective courses in the coming years, aligning with her passion for criminal law, human rights, and constitutional law.

Prior to beginning law school, the human rights advocate worked as a paralegal at Owings Law, gaining valuable experience in debt defense work. She highlighted the importance of taking time off before law school to work and save money. This experience provided her with a practical understanding of legal terminology and concepts, contributing to a smoother transition into her first year of law school.

Long-term goals include becoming an attorney, specializing in criminal law with a potential focus on international law, immigration law, or civil rights. She expressed a desire to contribute to public interest work and help those in need.

As Huffman shared her experiences and insights, her advice to Honors College and Kent State students resonated with a message of perseverance and embracing opportunities. She encouraged students to push themselves outside their comfort zones, emphasizing that every opportunity, even those resulting in mistakes, is a valuable learning experience.

This graduate student’s incredible journey from Kent State University to law school exemplifies the impact of community engagement, academic dedication, and a commitment to addressing critical social issues. As she continues her higher education, Huffman remains a promising advocate for justice and human rights.

For more information about completing a Senior Honors Thesis/Project through the Honors College, please visit the Senior Honors Thesis/Project website.

To learn more about establishing a student organization at Kent State University, visit the Center for Student Involvement website.




PHOTO CAPTION 1: Scene of campus near Kent State University arch.

PHOTO CAPTION 2: Headshot photo of Honors College alumna, Maya Huffman '22.

Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, smoskal@kent.edu, 330-672-2312

POSTED: Friday, February 9, 2024 04:47 PM
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2024 02:12 PM
Stephanie Moskal, Associate Director, Strategic Communications and External Affairs and Alyse Riffer, Honors College Writing Intern