Psychology Degree Helps GWU Alumna Manage Her Own Bakery Business

Print Friendly

Maya Stewart ’17 Learned Time Management and Interpersonal Skills

An image of Maya Stewart, GWU alumna, holding a bag of decorator icing, poised to decorate a sugar cookie.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.”

Maya Stewart uses a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of prepared cookie doughHer 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, Maya Rita Bakes, 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.”

An image of two cookies decorated by Maya Stewart. One looks like a diamond, the other is heart-shaped and inscribed with the words, "You and a Gem." They are light green and pink.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 friend’s coffee shop, Floyd and Blackie’s Coffee and Ice Cream in Cramerton, N.C.

Looking to the future, her goal is to have her own store front one day. “I hope to work alongside other small business owners, especially women, to grow an atmosphere in Gaston County (N.C.) that continues to support these businesses,” she asserted.

If you are interested in learning more about the programs offered by the School of Psychology and Counseling, click here.