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DaQuan K. Brown: Fulfilling A Greater Purpose

Image by: Alan Richard

 

By: Evan Spann, Features Writer 

 

Chosen from a vast pool of over 2,000 applicants, only 10 people remained. These 10 change-makers were participants in the 2023 cohort of the Southern Education Leadership Initiative (SELI) at the Southern Education Foundation (SEF). For the first time, one undergraduate and one graduate student were recognized for their exceptional achievement and performance during their summer fellowship. 

 

The Ginny Looney Servant Leader Award honors the two outstanding cohort members.  The award honors the legacy and memory of the late Atlanta-based attorney, Ginny Looney.  SELI program leaders look for students who embody Looney’s devotion to ethics, servant-leadership, social justice, and enriching education for Southern students. 

 

One of our very own Morehouse brothers, DaQuan K. Brown, a junior Education major and Communications minor from Decatur, Ga., was recognized earlier this month.  

 

Brown has cemented his place in the Morehouse community through his various roles on campus. He serves as a Bonner Scholar, Public Relations chair for the newly established Education Club, and the Community Service and Social Media chair for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 

 

His journey leading up to this accomplishment started during his senior year of high school. Brown learned about the Bonner Scholar Program through his high school strength and conditioning coach and Bonner alumnus, Montavius Coleman, ‘20. Coleman encouraged him to apply. He provided Brown with clarity on the interview process and assisted with his community service hours to help his application stand out.  

 

“The Bonner Scholar’s Program has been very fulfilling. I found some of my best friends through Bonner,” said Brown. 

 

In fact, he said that he changed his major to education because of Bonner. The former CTEMS major expressed that Bonner helped him find another passion.  

 

Ironically, Brown was not originally going to apply for SELI.  

 

Brown intended to return to West End, Atlanta-based organization STEAMsport. They work to provide underserved youth access to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education as they aspire to create diversity in the STEM career field. He has interned there as a summer school teacher, trained in subjects from 5th-grade math and social studies to fashion design and film. 

 

“STEAMsport took my breath away as far as what I can do to impact people.”

 

However, a Spelman College alumnus he knew of through a friend suggested that Brown apply for the Southern Education Leadership Initiative and offered to support him in this pursuit. 

 

The SELI program is an eight-week paid summer fellowship opportunity. It places graduate and undergraduate students within nonprofit organizations, school districts, and state education agencies in the South, fostering the growth of their leadership skills.

 

He mentioned that the interview process was about exploring what realm of education fits each cohort member. After being selected, he was placed with the Voices for Georgia Children and Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network, where he, “contributed to their work of advancing whole-child policy and promoting accessible, high-quality afterschool and summer programming.” 

 

“I was very nervous as the youngest in my cohort filled with 30-year-olds and graduate students,” said Brown. “I had an out-of-place moment, but they did a great job of making me feel welcomed. ”

 

A SEF news release announcing Brown and Georgia State University graduate student Madison Addock praised the young leaders’ attitude and future prospects. 

 

“Both DaQuan and Madison capture the essence of the Ginny Looney Servant Leader Award. They are smart, energetic, and in their own individual ways were able to make a clear impact on the non-profit groups where their work will be of real benefit for children now and over time,” said former SEF vice president Steve Suitts.

 

Given their deep commitment, growing capacity, and practical know-how, I fully expect they have just begun to make real contributions in developing equity and excellence in Southern education in the years ahead.” 

 

I asked Brown what his outlook on service is, and he left us with an insightful perspective to ponder,

 

 “Sometimes it can be viewed as a chore, but instead I see it as fulfilling my heart because I am doing and contributing to something bigger than myself; a bigger purpose.”

 

Copy Edited by: Elijah Megginson Features Editor