Miyalani Wagner, a junior double majoring in communication studies and psychology, comes from a family of self-starters. With a home environment that focused on work ethic and drive, Wagner has always had an entrepreneurial spark. Now, she is looking to expand her horizons as an intern for motivational speaker, author and podcaster Marc Hayford, who she hopes will reinforce and build upon her professional and entrepreneurial skills.

Wagner says that one of her long-term career goals is to own her own business. On her way there, though, she would also like to go to graduate school and utilize her skills in media psychology. Though she hasn't pinned down an exact position or field that she'd like to pursue upon graduation, she is continuing to keep her options open while exploring both professional opportunities and academic passions.

Her zeal as a self-starter at Temple University is already clear, as she is the founder and president of Thrift and Flop, an award-winning student organization focused on sustainable fashion. "As of now, I'm kind of just going with the flow and figuring out what I want to do as I continue to learn throughout my experience at Temple," she said.

A large part of that, according to Wagner, was taking the increased time she found at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to hone her skills, explore her interests and gain as much experience as possible. To this end, this summer Wagner is going to volunteer with the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, "a housing and anti-poverty advocacy organization that has been around in various forms for 30 years," according to their website. There, she will talk with constituents in Philadelphia over the phone, connect them with resources and generally provide a support system for vulnerable people in the city.

Of course, she is also heavily focused on her course load, being a double major with an organization and internship to balance as well. Communication Studies Program Director Scott Gratson recognizes her passion both in and out of the classroom, and has for a long time. "She is passionate about what she does, and approaches her work with a constant feeling of goodwill, interest and fun," Gratson said. "I commend her work, but am also drawn to her positive spirit and outlook, as I know many other people are as well."

Looking for a remote internship to build up her experience was another reason that led Wagner to connect with Marc Hayford. After being touched by a particularly inspirational post on Hayford's LinkedIn, where he advertises his services as an author and speaker, she listened to an episode of his podcast, GET UP. She immediately connected with Hayford's positive attitude and can-do spirit, but she noticed that his social media following was not as active as she would expect from someone with such a powerful message. 

So, she sent him a message on LinkedIn and told him he could feel free to ask her any questions he had about PR, marketing or communications. This led to a two-hour phone conversation, during which Hayford offered Wagner a flexible internship doing outreach, booking and networking for his personal brand.

Wagner feels that this is the perfect opportunity to not just gain overall experience, but also a new perspective on entrepreneurialism. "It's the kind of environment and vibe that I would want to work in because he's so positive and always uplifting, so that's something that really attracted me to this opportunity," she said. "Considering he is self-made, and he told me came from not a lot and he just decided to do something that he's passionate about — that's something that I'm all about."

Between Thrift and Flop, her internship and her many other endeavors, it is clear that Wagner is well on her way to being a self-made entrepreneur herself. Keep an eye on this Owl — she's going to fly high.