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Anchor for 'Today'
Student competes to become 'Today Show' anchor for a day

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 20, 2007) -- Patricia McKinnes -- a mother of five, recent Ohio University graduate and current graduate student -- soon could add "Today Show host" to her list of accomplishments. McKinnes is one of 16 semifinalists in MSNBC's "Anchor for TODAY Sweepstakes," in which contestants vie to join the cast of the show for a day. She will compete on-air on Wednesday, Feb. 21, to qualify for the semifinalist round.

Watch McKinne's video and cast your vote for the 'Today Show' anchor for a day. The 49-year-old is an inspirational figure who tried for 30 years to get her college degree until she finally accomplished her goal with a bachelor's from Ohio University. Now she's working toward her master's degree in communication and development studies.

"I feel like I've lived about five lifetimes," McKinnes says of her experiences. "And I'm proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. I think that too many times we're limited by how we think instead of just being who we are. I'm supposed to be an active person. I'm not a follower, I'm a leader."

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the show featured the video she entered for the contest. The quirky spot features McKinnes on the Athens campus with "Matt Lauer" (a tall man--graduate student  Dan McBrayer--holding a cardboard cut-out photo of Lauer's face in front of his head). "Many of you probably don't know, but Ohio University is also the alma mater to Matt Lauer," she says on the film before turning to talk with the stand-in.

Melissa Forte, who will graduate this spring with an MFA from Ohio University, shot and edited the video for McKinnes.

On Wednesday, she will appear live on "The Today Show" with three others to learn which of group viewers voted into the semifinalist round that includes four finalists.

"The voting is done now, so I'm just going to have fun with it," McKinnes says. "I'm confident because my story is a good one; it shows that no matter what--despite five universities, 30 years, health problems and personal challenges--you can just keep going and bloom where you're planted."

Visit www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17150789 to watch McKinnes' video.

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Media Contact: ActingSenior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder, 740-597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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