Hailing from Jamaica, Mecca McDonald chose to study at Hopkins because of its world-renowned reputation: “I wasn’t sure I would get in, but I thought it worth exploring. I’m glad I did!”
Mecca double majored in economics and psychology, with a minor in visual arts (see one of her wonderful film sets in her profile photo!). Within the economics major, Mecca loved Professor Papageorge’s Behavioral Economics course. “This was one of the first economics classes I took at Hopkins that allowed me to see the real-world applications of econometrics and economic theory. I love it when professors show how the concepts we learn in class relate to formulating government policy or developing a business model.” Mecca also enjoyed Professor Poliakova’s class, Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, in which students have to use theoretical models and empirical evidence to debate the pros and cons of different types of economic institution.
Mecca seized the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy, where she took courses in economics and history from a European perspective. Plus: “I’m a creative person, so it was a memorable experience to be surrounded by so much art, culture and beauty. And the food was wonderful!”
Mecca was as active outside the classroom as in it. She fundraised $35,000 for Safe Streets Baltimore, organized two art galleries, was a participant in the film club, Studio North, and designed sets and costumes for student films. She formed Pedestal, a photography collective, and Knotty by Nature, a natural hair care club.
Immediately after graduation, Mecca will be combining her interests in economics and design by growing her start-up Mo,Na, an initiative that focuses on making biodegradable accessories for the fashion industry. Mo,Na was recently awarded $26,000 in funding from Johns Hopkins’ Fast Forward U, a hub for student startups.
Unsure of what career path she will ultimately follow, Mecca reflects: “Attending Hopkins allowed me to develop a combination of creative and critical thinking skills. Hopkins helped me see creativity from a different perspective and I’m forever grateful for that.”
To potential majors, Mecca counsels: “Take classes that you’re interested in and get to know your professors. Explore classes outside of your major as well, there’s so much to learn here!”