Chyann Starks is a perfect example of an academically gifted student striving to reach her fullest potential as she pursues her career. Starks was born in Crown Heights and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School and studied Spanish language and culture and anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. as a Posse Scholar. The Posse Scholars program recognizes high school students who excelled academically and have leadership potential. Posse Scholar awards students with full-tuition scholarships at four-year colleges and universities. Since 1989, the Posse Scholars program has awarded scholarships to students all over the United States.
“Along with being awarded the experience to be the Posse Scholar at F&M, I was also able to make lifetime friends and be involved in leadership scholarship programs,” said Starks. “It was hard to adjust from New York City to Pennsylvania, but the people I met who are a part of this program, made it easier. The members of Posse Scholars were genuinely friendly and welcoming.”
She added, “I was the exposed to diverse fields of study of liberal arts education, the intellectual challenge and unique opportunities to study aboard and collaborate with professors directly.”
In the summer of 2012, Starks studied aboard in Japan and Peru. “My plans for studying abroad was to study the cultural and political connections of the countries during the end of the 19th century, but I got so much more from that!” she said. “Visiting Japan was such an eye opener. I loved their discipline of culture, the beauty of the landscape and importance and preservation of its history. I also got the chance to visit the historic majestic place Machu Picchu, Peru. My experiences at both of these countries were incredible and made me appreciate cultural diversity even more.”
Starks is a member of the House of the Lord Church. She was brought into the House of the Lord Church by her elementary school dance teacher, Dr. Karen S. Daughtry, who was also a pastor of the church and wife of the National Presiding Minister, the Rev. Herbert Daughtry.
“Members of the House of Lord Church are so motivational,” said Starks. “Since I was a young girl, I always felt the support system. A lot of my personal growth came from attending this church. I feel empowered spiritually and culturally. Even before I was born, the House of the Lord Church had a rich history of making positive contributions to their communities. They have a rich legacy of challenging political and social institutions nationally and internationally, to better respect and serve society’s ‘least of these.’ It is admirable.”
Starks is the assistant director of the Community Tickets Program of the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance. The DBNA partners with various programs to help serve and empower our community. The DBNA ticket program is in its fifth year and distributes tickets to venues such as Barclays Center for shows and basketball games. “What I enjoy most are the in-person sweepstakes events, where all our partners gather for their opportunity to win tickets, but more importantly, to have fun, share updates and celebrate all their work in the community,” said Starks. “There’s a lot of laughter and dancing.”
She advised, “For those who are interested in pursuing a career in community work. I would advise them to make sure their heart is in it. Being respectful and having patience for the people is the major key when you are thinking about serving the community.”
Within the next five years, Starks sees herself with a master’s degree, doing work internationally, working with youth and help them develop social emotional learning skills, leadership, character building. She concluded, “And hopefully, I would be able to be a business owner. I just want to continue help and serve societies. It is what I enjoy doing most.”