Fordham Sophomore is Ready to Light up NYC


Joyce is a multi talented student with big goals and aspirations. (courtesy of Instagram).

There’s a special kind of person that keeps New York City in awe — a person who keeps the unforgettable city shining its brightest. That person is Jaya Joyce, FCRH ’24, and none shine as brightly as she does.

Hailing from Rhode Island, as a child, Joyce was not yet aware that her journey would see her ascending to her rightful throne in New York with a larger-than-life personality towering over the city skyline. Like many, she envisioned a life of fame and lavish living in Los Angeles or New York — something today, she claims, was romanticized and unrealistic. Joyce is not one to sit around and let her dreams go unrealized, as she auditioned to be on the Disney Channel. Yet upon her entry to high school, Joyce knew her love for the entertainment industry had to be manifested in something concrete. Hence she began her quest to become an entertainment lawyer, which will enable her to fulfill two of her most character-defining passions: working in the entertainment industry and helping those in need.

Joyce makes it clear in everything she does that the flashing lights of fame will never eclipse her priority to serve communities in need of compassion, warmth and love: three things anyone who speaks with her will find she possesses an abundance. Before she became a film and television major, Joyce established and contributed to a Unified Movement throughout her school district in Rhode Island during her junior and senior years of high school to foster a more inclusive culture for all students. Joyce believes that her ability to amplify underrepresented  voices plays an integral role in her character. Yet, in true Ram fashion, Joyce was not satisfied with the power her voice already proved to possess, as she would seek not to become a one-trick pony in helping underserved communities, but a unicorn of unity for all. 

Whether it was her participation in the National Student Leadership Conference or her advocacy for hosting the Unified Polar Plunge, where her high school raised over $13,000 for the Special Olympics, Joyce’s love has proven all-encompassing: “At first, we were focusing on students with disabilities, but then, as it took off, we focused on everyone who might not feel included. Our unified pledge was to look for the lonely, isolated, challenged and bullied. Any student who might feel alone,” said Joyce. “I was bullied in middle school, and I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel that way.” Though she earned the Prudential Spirit of Community award, the work Joyce has done to uplift silenced voices can not be celebrated enough.

Fast forward to her sophomore year at Fordham, Joyce’s mission for unity has not changed. Joyce serves as the very embodiment of Fordham’s motto, Cura Personalis, and shares her love for Fordham to wide-eyed freshmen as an orientation leader. “It was just really nice to be able to help freshmen acclimate to Fordham. “Because of how much I love it, I was able to project my love for Fordham onto them, and help them get situated and make them more comfortable. I’m still in contact with some students from my orientation group which is really nice!” 

Joyce remains enigmatic because of her ability to be relatable, yet distinguishable from other Fordham students. Her love for pop culture is just one characteristic that simultaneously makes her relatable and sets her apart, as she proudly touts being a Harry Styles fan. She even met One Direction in 2015 and sat in the front row for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards last semester. Having been to nine of Harry Styles’ shows, Joyce shares that when she is presented with the opportunity to jump in jubilance at the venue her heart warms with a sense of community for all the fans who attended with her.

It is this sense of community Joyce engages with on a monthly basis during her work with Fordham’s NPR-affiliate radio station WFUV, as she is the host of the station’s podcast, “Community Dialogues.” It is a program that features discussions on racial justice and gives Joyce the platform she needs to confront the social injustice of racism infecting our country. She uses it to speak with community members and professionals about a multitude of organizations and issues occurring in New York City. “If there are issues going on in society, if people are hurting, if people need help, I think people should know about it, and I think that their voices should be heard,” says Joyce. “It’s really eye-opening to see things from another person’s perspective, and learn about what other people are going through. Because as students at Fordham, we’re very privileged, and learning more about our Bronx neighbors it’s just really eye-opening to see what they’re going through and how they live.” 

A pre-law student, black-belt in karate and One Direction fan, Joyce’s passion for entertainment and community makes her one of Fordham’s most multidirectional students. “No matter how old I get, in the back of my head, I’m always going to have that dream,” says Joyce on her dream of the world one day knowing her name — she should keep this in mind, because it’s already come true.