Mea Boykins: Champion for the well-being of students
Global Entrepreneur and business development professional Mea Boykins has been living in Jamaica for just under a year, making it the sixth country she has called home.
A native of Louisiana, Boykins was raised in New Orleans, United States of America, and has lived and worked across three continents and 19 cities.
“Anywhere that I go I usually do work and so I have clients all over the world – clients from China, throughout the US and Jamaica,” she told The Gleaner.
She admitted that the transition was difficult, but she has found pleasure in various aspects of Jamaica’s culture.
Boykins matriculated to The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, where she is completing a PhD in governance and public policy.
“I plan on running for office in Louisiana in three to five years and so I wanted to learn more about government, and also, I wanted to be close to America,” she said.
She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two masters of science in child psychiatry and global entrepreneurial management.
Her humanitarian pursuit was birthed at age 19, while an undergraduate at Spelman College.
“Two of my friends were about to leave school because they couldn’t afford tuition and I was really sad. I ended up telling my dad, and he was able to assist my friends,” she recalled.
With funds raised through a letter-writing campaign, she launched the Student Emergency Assistance Scholarship Fund, becoming the first person to do so while a student.
The media coverage which followed opened the doors for her to become a public speaker and to date, she has presented at more than 60 events.
Boykins has been making her mark in Jamaica as she has created the Dwayne Palmer Memorial Scholarship, in honour of a close friend who died tragically in December 2019.
The first scholarship will be awarded in the 2020-2021 academic year to a first-year UWI student pursuing studies in business or tourism.
She also has plans to carry out fundraising activities to have the aforementioned scholarship endowed and expand her philanthropic work as a means of assisting more Jamaicans.
“I’m working with All for Jamaica Foundation to have a business development summit. The students who join in are eligible to submit a business plan to us within a month and they can possibly win an award of up to $50,000,” she explained.
Boykins is uncertain about how much longer she will remain in Jamaica when her studies are completed in 2022, but declared that “Jamaica will always be a home for me”.