Photo | Tara Espinoza
Briya Alford, a junior from Conway, is Tech’s 2021 homecoming queen. Majoring in vocal education with a minor in leadership, she serves as the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, incorporated Beta Phi Chapter pre the board of African American Student Association, a member of the Tech coral artist. She is also a community assistant for residence life and works closely with Diversity and Inclusion Validates Everyone LLC.
“Being named homecoming queen means the world to me, and it means that people on this campus support me and motivate me to continue working towards my goals. It means representation to the incoming and current students of color who may feel like they are at a disadvantage at a predominantly white institution,” Alford said.
“I hope to set the example that they are capable of anything they put their minds to. I want to encourage all students to take any and every opportunity given to them, regardless of the obstacles in their way,” Alford said. “It means representation to the little black girls who need a role model to look up to as they are growing up. At a young age, representation plays a vital part in their self-confidence. I want to be able to look at them and say, “this can be you one day. I believe in you.”
Her goals for this school year include helping grow the AASA organization, volunteering in the community, and to help make the campus feel more safe and comfortable for all students.
Alford said her biggest supporters are her family, especially her mother.
“My mom is my best friend,” Alford said. “She is my biggest inspiration for working so hard to finish college because when she was going to college, that is when she had me. She told me stories of the struggles she went through raising me as a single-parent mother, and to see her push through to finish inspires me to do the same.”
Winning homecoming queen has already made an impact in her life.
“It has only been two days, and it has been huge. Overall, it has brought so much love from others, and I have gotten to know so many more people that I would never have met without taking this opportunity,” Alford said.
“The ladies and gentlemen on the court are such amazing people to learn from and connect with, and I am so honored that this was the way I had the chance to get to know them. It has opened up many pathways to reach out to others,” Alford said.
To Alford, the role of homecoming queen is the face of the university.
“This is the lady whom the people on campus feel best represents all aspects of the campus. It is great to have a well-rounded, positive individual to take this position,” Alford said.
The strategy for winning was through word of mouth, help from friends, and social media. She walked around campus with flyers and made business cards.
“This process makes me elated, and I am still pinching myself sometimes to make sure this is real life,” Alford said. “I cannot stress enough how loved this has made me feel from my friends and family. To have their support means I cannot let them down and makes me want to work much harder to make you all proud. Thank you again, Tech, for seeing the potential in me and putting your faith in me.”
In her free time, she likes to sing, listen to music and shop online. Spend time with her friends and family and play with her dog, Bijou.