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.