Dec. 18, 2009
Elizabeth Klipp, 404-413-1356
The holiday festivities are just one part of Golden Key's volunteerism. The interdisciplinary honor society brings together students from various majors to work on service projects around Atlanta.
For instance, Georgia State Golden Key members regularly tutor fourth and fifth graders at Cook and Parkland elementary schools in literacy skills and spend time helping at local soup kitchens.
The organization also helps out on campus offering their peers graduate school test preparation, collecting books to send to schools in Africa and starting a recycling program for printer ink cartridges.
Membership to join Golden Key is by invitation only and consists of the top 15 percent of the university's sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students in all majors. The idea is to bring together high-performing students and encourage them to give back to the community and influence others to reach their goals.
Founded at Georgia State in 1977, the GSU chapter has roughly 400 members. The organization has also expanded to 370 chapters at colleges and universities in seven countries, such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.
Brown has been co-president of Golden Key for the past two years, while maintaining strong grades and working part-time. She currently has a 3.7 GPA in her degree program, Bachelor of Business Administration, and is on track to become the first in her family to graduate with a four-year degree in August.
"I've been blessed to make it this far," she said. "I'm happy to make my parents proud and someday help them like they've helped me."
Brown is currently a student trainee at the Food & Drug Administration, where she handles office duties for the Investigations Branch.
She also has volunteered her time as a mentor at Carver High School and works with Hands on Atlanta to build home for low-income families.
On campus, Brown serves as a student justice on the Georgia State Student Judicial Board and is the secretary of the National Association of Black Accountants, along with her responsibilities with Golden Key.
"She is really committed to the organization and to challenging the members to rise to a higher level in terms of service," said Nia Haydel, co-advisor of Golden Key and an academic professional for student retention in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. "She's a really good role model for other students. When you look at all the things she balances and has accomplished, it's hard for others to say they can't do something."
This spring, Brown will be doing an internship with a "Big Four" accounting firm and she hopes to enter the Master's of Taxation degree program in fall 2010.
With a broad smile and a friendly demeanor, Brown is humble about her accomplishments and simply says she tries to do as much as she is able.
It's clear her efforts are having an impact.
"We're all struggling with our finances in this economy," said 5th grade science teacher at Cook Elementary, Daniela Vasan. "Students from low-income homes are especially feeling the pinch and may not have the traditional Christmas. This [party] allows them to see the generosity other people can give."
Maranda Marshall, 10, a Cook Elementary student agreed.
"It makes me happy," Maranda said. "It's nice they took the time to buy us presents and it's fun playing games."