#Spotlight: Sarah Brown, Miss J.S.U.

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Give us some background information about yourself.
My name is Sarah Brown and I am 21 years old. I’m originally from Jackson, Miss., and am a senior at Jackson State University, where I currently reign as Miss J.S.U. 2012-2013. My major is general physics. I attended Forest Hill High School in Jackson, where I held numerous titles such as Miss. Sophomore, Miss. Junior, junior class president, Miss. Forest Hill, homecoming queen, prom queen, and senior class president.

What made you want to run for Miss J.S.U.
I guess I had been inspired because of the things I had achieved throughout high school. When I got to Jackson State University, I observed the other queens. I admired them and was inspired by them as well. I felt there was something inside of me that I could bring to the university. I’m very personable.

Many people can relate to me because of my experiences. There was even a time when I didn’t have enough money to go to college. I was humble about it. At first, I had to work two jobs in order to pay for school. I worked at IHOP for five years as a waitress and quit last year. I also worked at Westhaven Memorial Funeral Home.

My ACT score wasn’t good enough so I didn’t get a full ride. Throughout my freshman year, I studied six hours a day and ended up getting a 4.0 gpa. After that I received two full scholarships. My message to the people is this-You can become successful no matter what situation has occurred in your life.

Being at J.S.U. reminded me of the real world. As much as I have succeeded at the university, I have struggled more.

Which former Miss J.S.U. did you look up to the most and why.
I looked up to Ronnika Joyner (Miss J.S.U. 2010-2011) because I felt like we related so much with our personal life. She opened up more than any other queen I encountered. She had inspired me to run.

Describe the Miss J.S.U. pageant you participated in for the title.
There were five girls in the pageant, which was held in April 2012 at the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium at J.S.U. Only the top three girls can make it out. My speech was entitled “HBCU’s reaching the challenges, fulfilling the promises,” and my talent was a monologue entitled “The Strong Black Woman is Dead.”

For my monologue, I brought a casket, flowers and a podium on stage to make the scene look like a funeral. When I first opened the curtain, the audience saw the casket and they all gasped. However, the audience received the message very well. The monologue was meant to inspire; it showed the significance of a strong black woman.

 Describe the moment you found out you had won.
I found out seven days after the pageant. It was very overwhelming. I immediately began to cry and my family was in tears as well. It felt like it was a gift from God. He was showing me you can have anything you want as long as you put your mind to it.

My coronation was held on October 18, 2012 at the Lee E. Williams Athletics Assembly Center at J.S.U.; It was simply amazing. The theme was “Harlem Nights at J.S.U.” I pulled up in a vintage yellow Mercedez. Then I walked down on a red carpet. Everybody was taking pictures of me. I didn’t write a speech; my speech was my testimony. I decided to tell people how I won the title of Miss J.S.U.

The football games were amazing as well. It felt good to wear the crown and to hear the band. I got to “beef it up” when they played my favorite song.

What projects have you been working on as Miss J.S.U.
I’ve done the “Molding a Mind” mentor project, which is a project where any J.S.U. freshman will receive an upperclassmen as a mentor. The mentor meets with the mentee twice a week to help them with their homework and to overall make sure their matriculation at J.S.U. is a success.

I also put together three projects for J.S.U. students and community residents to participate in on the same day- “Make A Difference” day, which was held on Dec. 1, 2012. The first project was Campus Clean Up day, the second project was volunteering at the local Stewpot Community Center and third was volunteering at Pleasant Hill nursing home in Jackson. Over 200 volunteers participated.

My biggest project is the “Love Yourself Self-Esteem” tour. Later this month, I will be going to all middle and high schools in Jackson to talk to young girls about loving themselves and the challenges of peer pressure.

Are there any other positions that you would want to run for in the future.
I always wanted to run for mayor because I feel I have what it takes to become the first female mayor of Jackson. I plan on making major connections with Jackson politicians in the near future.

As of right now, I’m focusing on grad school. I plan to attend J.S.U. for my Master’s degree in environmental engineering in order to become an environmental hydrologist. After that I plan to attend another school and work on my Ph.D. I see myself becoming a professor at an HBCU.

What advice can you give to those young women who plan on running for Miss J.S.U. in the future.
When you run, run because you feel like you have something to bring to the table. You get a better response when you show people you have real life problems. Reach out to students and say, “Hey, I’ve been through the same thing you’re going through, but let me show you how I made it over and how you can make it over.”

-Nick Samuel

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