spotlight-category: Psychological Science and Counselor Education

Maya Stewart ’17

Maya Stewart cookies

Psychology degree helps Maya Stewart ‘17 manage her bakery business

“There are so many skills you learn as a psychology major that translate to everyday life.”

Maya Stewart ’17 took several classes and even read course descriptions in the Gardner-Webb University Catalog before deciding to major in psychology. Taking different courses helped her determine her strengths and interests. When she decided to open her own bakery, she realized that her GWU professors had prepared her for success.

“Thank you, Dr. (David) Carscaddon, for the rigorous classes that forced me to manage my time well,” affirmed Stewart, who lives in Stanley, N.C. “For social skills and understanding how people operate—thank you, Dr. (Iva) Naydenova and Dr. (Sharon) Webb, for your classes that prepared me to work with people in so many capacities. There are so many skills you learn as a psychology major that translate to everyday life.”

Her professors also taught life lessons by their actions. When Stewart experienced a difficult time in her life, she was not alone. “I had some health problems, and my professors were understanding, patient, and cared about my health,” she shared. “The community of students, professors, and other staff walked with me through the ups and downs of that time in my life.”

She chose to attend GWU, because friends from church told her about the Christian atmosphere and the professors who were invested in their academic and personal lives. “I was very involved in Campus Ministries United (CMU),” Stewart related. “It was important to me to attend a Christian school so that I could be surrounded by scripture, truth, and community in this manner.”

Stewart’s bakery grew from a hobby and her desire to serve people. “The timing was right for me to pursue this full time, so I ran with it,” she reflected. “I love getting to work with clients to create the perfect accent to their events. Birthday parties, baby showers, etc. can be important events to commemorate new life stages, and it is such an honor to be in on the intimate details of my clients’ lives while they celebrate.”

Her specialty is intricately-decorated cookies and she also makes muffins. On average she bakes about five dozen muffins a week and 15 dozen decorated cookies. On holidays her orders increase to as many as 23 dozen decorated cookies. The sweet treats are available at her shop, 101 East 1st St., Lowell, N.C.

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