The Miya D. Brophy-Baermann Scholarship Fund honors the life of Michelle and Bryan Brophy-Baermann's 24-year old daughter, Miya. Miya was the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting that occurred in Providence, Rhode Island in August 2021.
“She was hard working, super sentimental, an amazing friend, and loved her family,” says Michelle Brophy-Baermann of her daughter, Miya, the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting in Providence in August, 2021. Miya was 24 years old.
Born in Cooperstown, NY, Miya and her family lived in Wisconsin until Miya was nine and the family moved to Rhode Island. She attended Providence schools, graduating from Classical High School in 2015 before pursuing higher education and earning a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in communicative disorders from the University of Rhode Island in 2019.
Miya continued her education at Northeastern University, receiving a master’s degree in speech-language pathology in May 2021. “She was always interested in science and neurology, and liked working with people. Miya loved being in a medical setting, working with dementia patients, patients with traumatic brain injuries, and stroke victims. The field just clicked for her. It was a perfect balance of science and working with people,” her dad, Bryan, relates.
“She was hard working, super sentimental, an amazing friend, and loved her family.”- Michelle Brophy-Baermann
She had just started her first job as a clinician at a rehabilitation center in North Providence three weeks before her death.
“Miya was a selfless person who will be remembered for her infectious and optimistic personality. She made complete strangers feel welcomed and treated everyone equally and as a friend. She had an unbelievable work ethic for her own goals and the causes she believed in. In her pursuit of social justice, Miya lived the experience many just talk about,” her parents wrote in her obituary.
Noting that nearly 700 people have contributed to the fund, most through a GoFundMe page set up by one of Michelle’s colleagues at Rhode Island College, Bryan states, “We’re honored how the community came together so that we’re able to do this. It’s important to us that Miya’s legacy lives on.”
Through this fund, scholarships will forever be awarded in Miya’s name to students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in the field of communicative disorders (speech-language pathology and audiology) at Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, with preference for those students traditionally underrepresented in the profession.
Michelle and Bryan have also started a nonprofit organization called Miya's Voice.
Miya's Voice has been created to promote the values that Miya D. Brophy-Baermann believed in: diversity, inclusion, equity, social justice, the power of education, and love of community; create awareness of career paths that young people do not often consider; to raise awareness about the impact of violence on our community; and to empower young people to find and use their voices to support their values and benefit the community.
To learn more you can find Miya's Voice on Facebook @miyas.voice or on Instagram @miyas_voice.