Spotlight Student: Autumn Mays

Autumn Mays is a 20-year-old rising senior at DePaul University. Born and raised in

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Autumn grew up with a deep love for the performing arts, especially

music. She began her own journey with music at the age of 8 with her participation in Milwaukee

Youth Symphony Orchestra’s (MYSO) “Progressions” Program. Spending 10 years in MYSO,

she finished the program in their flagship orchestra “Senior Symphony”. Throughout her tenure

with MYSO, she was not only molded into a classically trained violinist but was also granted

multiple opportunities to develop her musicianship and leadership skills. These opportunities

included performing alongside The Piano Guys, Black Violin, composing two orchestral

compositions and co-creating the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center Student Advisory Board.

Because of these experiences, it further solidified Autumn’s passion for the arts, but also made

her further aware of the lack of accessibility for the arts in her community. With a newfound

motivation to combat the disparities of arts accessibility, Autumn set her sights on majoring in

Performing Arts Management and double minoring in Communication Studies and Business


As a Performing Arts Management student, Autumn’s coursework focuses on not-for-

profit arts administration as well as commercial music management to prepare for the

extensiveness of the performing arts industry. With her minors in Communication Studies and

Business Administration, she can further develop her communication and entrepreneurship

skills to support her knowledge in the performing arts world. To supplement her class and

practicum work, Autumn is on the DePaul University School of Music Justice, Equity, Diversity,

and Inclusion Board as the sole student board member to bridge the gap between student and

faculty/staff communication and encourage improvements that can be made regarding diversity,

equity and inclusion values at the School of Music. Over the course of the summer, she has

been interning with Elevated Chicago, a collaborative of residents, organizations, artists, city

officials and philanthropists that work to promote equitable community and transit development.

As the Arts & Culture intern, Autumn is focused on creating arts and cultural strategies that

embody Elevated Chicago’s values, creating spaces for artists in the community and research

to create arts resources in the city of Chicago.

In addition to her music and educational endeavors, Autumn’s interest in philanthropy

encouraged her to found her own not-for-profit organization NoteWorthy Inc in 2020. As the

Founder/CEO, she strives to grant financial resources and musical opportunities to

underrepresented youth in her community in hopes of fostering a new generation of performers

that will break down stereotypes. Furthermore, she was awarded the 2021 National

Philanthropic Youth of Today Award for her work as the first vice-chair of the Milwaukee Youth

Arts Center Student Advisory Board.

Autumn is grateful to be receiving the Dr.Terence Thomas Scholarship award for a

fourth year as it has been essential to funding her academic career and goals. Currently, she is

balancing being a full-time student, not-for-profit founder, musician, and model. After finishing

her bachelor’s degree, she plans to either attend graduate school or directly work in both the

not-for-profit and commercial sectors of the music industry with the ultimate goal of making

music and the performing arts accessible to all.