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Michelle Obiageli Egbuna

Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Education: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelor of Arts, Government

William P. Clements High School

Platform Issue: Increasing Minority Access to Academic Opportunities Abroad

Scholastic/Career Ambition: Practice as an International Law Attorney

Scholastic Honors: Magna Cum Laude Honors Designation; Liberal Arts College Scholar; Joe R. Long Scholar of the Government Department; Freeman Scholar for Internships in Asia; Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar of the United States Department of State; Archer Fellow of the University of Texas System in Washington, D.C.

Leadership Roles: University of Texas at Austin Student Government; Committee Chair of Model United Nations Conferences in New York City, Austin, and Houston; Founder of the Vuela Conmigo Study Abroad Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Current Miss Black and Old Gold Title Holder of the Epsilon Iota Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated; Miss Old Gold of the Texas Council of Alpha Chapters; Studied Abroad at the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain.

Interesting Facts: I have solo traveled to a total of nine countries with my most recent being Guatemala in July. I am currently in the process of planning an East Asia solo trip to South Korea, China, and Japan in the upcoming months.

Employment: United States Supreme Court Spring 2019 Intern; Intern at Law Plus Ltd, a Leading International Law Firm in Bangkok, Thailand; Legislative Intern for the Office of Texas State Representative Eddie Lucio, Jr.; Intern for the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

How has the world you come from shaped your dreams and aspirations:

As the proud daughter of Nigerian immigrants, I have witnessed my parents work hard to create a comfortable life for themselves out of virtually nothing. The example they have set has continuously served as motivation for me to continuously strive for more and dream beyond the limitations of my current situation. However, I understand that there exists institutional systems of oppression that continue to deprive many minorities of an opportunity to create the lives they envision for themselves. As a result, my background coupled with this understanding fuels my aspiration to become a highly effective lawyer that advocates on the behalf of minority populations world wide.

Of all the ways you could succeed in your life, why have you chosen to succeed in the Miss Black Houston Pageant?

When I was crowned Miss Black and Old Gold at my university, the most rewarding aspect of my pageant experience was my service project. I chose to relinquish $500 of my scholarship earnings to create the Vuela Conmigo Study Abroad Scholarship that would assist financially disadvantaged students in my community. The recipient of my scholarship recently returned from his study abroad trip to China and informed me that he had a highly transformative first time experience abroad. Knowing that I played even a small part in making this feat a reality for him was beyond rewarding and I wish to use my platform as Miss Black Houston to further expand the impact I will have on increasing minority access to academic opportunities abroad.

What social issue, other than your platform, will have the greatest impact on your generation and why?

I believe that the dying art of effective and respectful communication will have the greatest impact on my generation. The combative nature of our current social climate has created a phenomenon in which people speak to be heard and not understood or challenged. This is highly detrimental to the potential resolution of any social issue.

When individuals fail to engage in civil discourse and inhibit the free-flow of ideas, it becomes nearly impossible to work cooperatively to resolve any social issue from climate change to immigration policy.

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