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Top Ten Graduate: Briya Malia Todd, C'2021

May 2021

Spelman College Top Ten Graduate 2021 Briya Malia ToddBriya Malia Todd, C'2021, made a confident decision during her senior year in high school regarding the institution where she wanted to pursue her undergraduate degree when she chose to apply to only one school -- Spelman College. Intrigued by the unique growth and service opportunities that the campus and community offers, she was compelled to enroll and remain active on and off campus throughout her four years at Spelman.

Todd recalls many highlights from her collegiate experience including a few that really stand out including participating in Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell's President's Reading Circle during her first year at the College. This unique experience, where each student was invited to read, "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption," afforded her an opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and meet author and attorney Bryan Stevenson. She also participated in the Spelman On The Hill program  through the Office of Alumnae Affairs which provided her another invaluable opportunity to meet the nation’s leaders and practice being an advocate for her community.

Making Mentoring Matter

Born and raised in LaGrange, Georgia, Todd continued to thrive at Spelman during her sophomore year and became the first student in the College's history to receive the University of Pennsylvania's Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship which also included a scholarship for her to study abroad in London. During her junior year, Todd served as president of Gifted Girls of Grace, Incorporated, where she helped to create unique bonding and service opportunities for on-campus Spelman students and their teenage mentees. She was also selected to be a member of the last cohort of the Women of Excellence in Leadership program and is a WEL graduate. 

Throughout her entire four-year experience, Todd faithfully served her community, through the AmeriCorps Strong Start Reading Program, the LaGrange Housing Authority, and the UPS Scholars Program to name a few. She is also a member of the Eta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated where she served on the Executive Board. Above all, Todd considers the fact that she graduated Summa Cum Laude while maintaining a full time job in addition to her membership in other academic honor societies and collegiate organizations, as her greatest accomplishment.

Todd's Shares Appreciation for the Spelman Community

Mr. Hank, one of Spelman’s beloved Public Safety officers and I met during my first year at the College. One day during my junior year, Mr. Hank saw me on campus and recognized that I was overwhelmed, so he stopped me. He told me to breathe and asked me what was going on with me. I told him about my to-do list and drawing from his wisdom and using his New York wit, he simply responded with a question: “How do you eat an elephant, Miss Malia?”

I said, “I don’t know, Mr. Hank.” He said “Piece by piece. So take it easy. You will get it done.”  That was the best advice I could have received at that moment and I thank Mr. Hank for all the gems of knowledge he gave me over the course of my four years at Spelman. 

Now that she has successfully graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Spelman on May 16, 2021, Todd will take a a gap year before attending  law school in the fall of 2022. She gives all praises to God and her family for helping her through her college journey.  


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