Officially, Martaveius Taylor is majoring in Digital Video Production at Washtenaw Community College. But beyond pursuing a particular degree, the 27-year-old is taking classes with a very specific result in mind: learning to successfully launch, promote and build a non-profit organization that will provide rent-to-own tiny homes and shipping container homes to low-income and homeless individuals.

Martaveius Taylor behind a mic in the WCC Orchard Radio studio.

Looking for a “change of environment,” Taylor moved in with family in Ypsilanti Township in January 2018 and met another Chicago-area native, Marlow West, in a WCC marketing class. Their common societal views and charitable visions led to both a romantic relationship and the birth of Innovative Housing of Michigan, a non-profit created to combat housing inaccessibility.

“We believe that if we invest in our poorest populations, everybody’s quality of life will improve,” said Taylor, who also works full-time as a salesman at Fox Ann Arbor Nissan.

With a focus on growing their non-profit concept together, West is studying Business Management while Taylor is picking up multiple skills he believes will help him publicize their mission and promote the tiny home neighborhood movement. Thus, the Digital Video Production associate degree program with multiple entrepreneurship, marketing and broadcasting classes thrown into the mix.

Dena Blair, the lead faculty member in WCC’s Broadcast Media Arts program, was so impressed by Taylor’s determination and purpose that she awarded him the college’s first $1,000 Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation scholarship. The MAB approved the WCC program for the scholarship in late 2018.

“When I learned of Martaveius’ desire to take his passion of broadcasting and combine it with his love of serving the greater good, I was beyond inspired,” Blair said. “He was a deserving recipient of the honor.”

Taylor took a Broadcast Media Arts class titled “Voice and Articulation” as an elective in order to become a more effective speaker. But during that class, he realized how the radio platform could complement his other pursuits via the creation of podcasts, so he enrolled in additional courses.

The scholarship covered those costs, giving him an opportunity to direct his own tuition money to another of his assorted interests.

“The more classes I take,” Taylor says with a deep laugh, “the more things I realize I want to learn.”

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Note: Along with its existing associate degree program, the WCC Broadcast Media Arts department also recently unveiled a new 12-credit certificate program that will be available beginning with the Fall ’19 semester.

This story first appeared on the News & Events page.