ATHENS, Ohio -- Markila Brown has big plans for herself.
In high school, she was president of her school's student-run broadcast network, an experience that inspired her to pursue a career in communications and directed her to Ohio University, her first and only college choice.
During her sophomore year at the university she was encouraged to apply for a new scholarship funded by the Gates Foundation, The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans and Hispanic Americans in undergraduate and graduate degree programs who demonstrate financial need and strong leadership abilities.
Brown, who is among the first group of Millennium Scholars at the university, said the scholarship was an enormous help financially and, along with other financial aid she received from the University, made it possible for her realize her dream of a college education.
The leadership skills that helped her to win a Gates scholarship were evident during her four years at the University. She co-founded Redefining Education through Devoted Sisterhood, or REDS, which is an organization that keeps the university informed about issues important to the minority community. And she's been an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Her biggest challenge, and the one she is most proud of, was coming to the university with her now five-year-old daughter.
"Everyone told me I would never make it and now here I am," Brown said. "A graduating senior and it only took me four years!" She said it wasn't easy, but she did it without compromising any of her responsibilities as a mother.
"I want people to know that there isn't anything you can't do, as long as you do it with God in your heart," she said. "I am living proof of that and I wouldn't trade what I've been through for anything."
The public relations graduate isn't sure where she'll end up, but she is lucky to have several prospects, "Right now I'm interviewing with two firms, so I hope I'll have news about where I'll be working, soon," she said.
Brown plans to pursue an MBA, but not before she has a bit of real life experience under her belt.
As for the future, "Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind and run for president."