Profile

  • Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2022
  • Hometown: Austin, TX
  • School Year: Senior
  • Major: Canfield Business Honors and Plan II Honors
  • Email: ava.mj@utexas.edu

About: Hi!

A little about me--two of the most influential things in my life are that I am Austin born and raised, so I adore anything and everything outdoors (the greenbelt is my second home), and I feel like the luckiest person because I have two older sisters that mean the world to me.

At UT, I am studying business, liberal arts, and government on a pre-law track and hope to become a constitutional lawyer fighting for civil liberties. Outside of the academic sphere, I spend most of my time with the Undergraduate Business Council and Texas Spirits which have been my home since freshman year, and teaching kickboxing at Fight Club Austin.

My ultimate joys are spending time with the people I love, getting to truly know others and their stories, and being outside in the sun. I also love music and reading, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way :)

Why I Ride

“I read that beauty has historically demanded replication. We make more of anything we find aesthetically pleasing, whether it’s a vase, a painting, a chalice, a poem. We reproduce it in order to keep it, extend it through space and time.” - Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

I have always loved hearing and exchanging stories about people and their lives--who means the world to them, what experiences make them who they are, a memory that makes their hearts warm. When I read Ocean Vuong’s notion of beauty, I realized that asking to hear these stories is my small attempt to extend the beauty of people through space and time and to appreciate and celebrate them. But when the stories involve people who have passed away, I sometimes shy away from asking for stories in fear of discomfort despite truly wanting to honor and get to know who they are even if they are not here.

This shyness has been prevalent for me with my mom’s parents, amongst many other loved ones. I realized that I never call my mom’s parents my grandparents because for me, calling someone my grandparent means we have years of memories built together. As my mom’s parents both passed away from cancer before my sisters and I were born, these layers of memories were not possible. I do not know much of them, but I truly want to piece together their lives with stories between the few ideas I have of them: Jane’s intellect and Jack’s eccentricities, and both of their love of nature.

Quietly, I accepted this disconnect between my mom’s parents and me. Quietly, I accepted cancer as being part of my family’s past and part of our future. Quietly, my heart grieved and wept for the losses of my family and friends due to cancer. But Texas 4000 gives me hope that we can fight cancer loudly--to see people survive to tell their own stories and revive the stories that have been lost with time.

I am riding to not be quiet anymore. As I ride, I want to learn and share the stories of my family, my friends, and all who have been affected by cancer to replicate and extend their beauty and strength. I ride for my grandfather Pablo, who lived and fought with determination and grace; for Jack and Jane, who live on in spirit in my mom and Mouton family; for Aunt Bee, the sunniest of people; for the survivors in my life who continue to share their love and joy with all. I ride with the love taught to me by my cousin Rachel and aunt Julie who fought a different battle with mental health.

I would be honored to ride for you and your loved ones, affected by cancer or not, and hear their stories to carry with me each mile. If you have someone I can ride for and celebrate, my email is ava.mj@utexas.edu.

To Alaska and back with love,
Ava