Mathama Bility

Hometown: Cary, NC

high school: Salem Academy

college: Duke University

MAJOR: Public Policy / Film

Mathama believes in using life's challenges and setbacks to build courage, compassion, and character. Through hard work and determination she has achieved much, both at school and within her community.

Motivated by her desire to tell visual stories that educate and inspire, Mathama has directed and produced three short documentary films in association with the Cary Youth Film Project. One of her films, Goodness Grows, a short film about the local−food movement in her community, won the "Viewer's Choice Award" at its premiere.

With these achievements, Mathama was then able to work on larger-scale productions including a short film by Out of Our Minds Animations, an Academy Award winning studio where she completed a month−long internship. She was also awarded a scholarship to travel to England, producing a short documentary film on British youth culture while living with a host family. In January 2014, Mathama completed an internship with the Winston−Salem Arts Council. While there, she explored the business side of the arts industry and helped the non−profit to meet its annual campaign fundraising goal of $2.65 million.

Her passion for the performing arts also extends to theater, where she has used her leadership skills to direct, stage manage, and crew−head various productions. Last year, she was awarded her school's "Stage Manager of the Year Award" for her efforts. As an actress, she has performed in several productions, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Macbeth, and Annie. She is also currently the President of her school's Theater Club. For her considerable contributions to the theater, Mathama has been inducted into the International Thespians' Society as a lifetime member.

Attending Salem Academy, a prestigious all−girls boarding school in Winston−Salem, North Carolina, Mathama is an honors student. As an "A Better Chance" Scholar and Leadership Award winner, she attends Salem Academy as the recipient of the Dickerson Merit Scholarship. There, she directs student boarder life as House Council President. She is also a member of Student Council and the Honor Cabinet which addresses all infractions made against the school's honor code. At school, Mathama devotes her time to the Black Student Union, Model UN, Key Club, and Art Club.

Recently, Mathama was selected to participate in Walt Disney World's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine. In association with the Dreamers Academy, Mathama was a guest on WRAL−TV and has been featured in stories for the News and Observer and Black Entertainment Television.

Mathama aspires to work in the film industry. Ultimately, Mathama hopes her work in film will help her audiences lead more positive and fulfilling lives. She has a good start at doing just that.

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