“I gave it up to God, the opportunity opened up, and here I am,” WKU graduate student Gaines Brown said. Brown came from Lexington, KY in August 2016 to earn a Master of Public Administration degree and to make a difference developing as a scholar and professional.
“I came with an open mind, open heart, ready to learn, ready to make new friends and make community here.”
While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, WKU Alumnus Deire Foxx told Brown about WKU and its Distinguished Minority Fellowship Program. The Distinguished Minority Fellows program assists minority students in attaining graduate degrees by providing tuition as well as employment opportunities.
Since 2016, Brown has served as a graduate assistant in Student Activities, research assistant in the Office of Sustainability, and former president of WKU’s Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA). Brown assisted with Student Activities’ Alternative Spring Break program, spoke at student conferences, researched the Farmacy program for the Community Farmers Market, and rebranded the return of BGSA to WKU.
“It is empowering to see people who look like me in administration and in the classroom so that way I know that I am not alone,” Brown said. “The people that you surround yourself with are the ones that encourage you, they let you know when you make an irrational decision. The community is necessary.”
With the support, Dr. Victoria Gordon, Dr. Saundra Ardrey, and Dr. Dan Boden, Brown completed and presented research titled “Of Strange Fruit: A Theoretical and Policy Analysis of Police Behavior” in 2017. On February 24, Brown will participate in NASPA Batten Competition, at which time he and teammates will solve a global health crisis and find public policy provisions to limit and provide safe guards from impacting the lives of more people than it should.
“I am a man of faith and I believe we are to make the lives of those around us better. Consequently, our lives will be better because of the happiness of others.”
Brown graduates from WKU in May 2018. To learn more about the MPA program visit, https://www.wku.edu/political-science/mpa-program/. To learn more about the Distinguished Minority Fellows, visit https://www.wku.edu/graduate/aid/map.php.