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Black History Month Student Spotlight: Makiya Smith, Cosmetology

Makiya Smith, Cosmetology

February is Black History Month. EASTERN is extremely proud of our Black students and alum, and we are celebrating by focusing on our successful students throughout the month. This week’s student spotlight features Makiya Smith, a Cosmetology/Upper Moreland High School senior, and SkillsUSA District Nail Care Competition Bronze Medalist.

To Makiya, Black History Month means “Creations, conversations and celebrations of people who look like me.” She is honored that her Cosmetology Instructor, Ms. Wendy Leyden, nominated her for this spotlight, and is pleased to be recognized for her efforts in class and in the SkillsUSA District Competition.

Makiya says that her passion for the Cosmetology field is something that runs in her family. “Cosmetology is a family tradition,” said Makiya. “My mom and grandmother were both hair stylists.”  Makiya wanted to follow in their footsteps and liked the idea of learning a skilled trade. She initially found out about the programs at EASTERN through a presentation at her high school and considered both Business and Technology Professional and Cosmetology. She would like to learn more about business in the future because she is interested in the business side of Cosmetology as well as the hands-on aspects. In her Cosmetology class, she enjoys studying the various aspects of the body and the beauty industry, including hair, nails, and skincare.

Another passion of Makiya’s is theater. Tyler Perry, an actor, filmmaker, playwright, and entrepreneur, is one of Makiya’s inspirations. She recalls seeing his plays when he was first launching his career, which was her first experience with black theater. “His characters show personality and integrity,” said Makiya. In addition to her love of Cosmetology, she also enjoys cheer, singing, rapping, dancing, and anything that allows her to show her creativity.

Makiya’s advice to someone thinking about attending EASTERN’s Cosmetology program is – “If your heart is in it, go for it -- but only if your heart is in it. If you work hard, it will pay off. Cosmetology is a huge commitment. You need 1,250 class hours to sit for your Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology Exam, which means you spend several weeks in school during the summer of your junior and senior years. Dedication is the key.”

After graduation from EASTERN and Upper Moreland High School, Makiya plans to attend Montgomery County Community College for Business or Theater.