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Morgan Brown, '09

Morgan Brown, '09“I came to Muskingum hoping to test out of Spanish and never have to take another language class,” admits Morgan Brown, ’09, who ultimately majored in Spanish and International Affairs. “It goes to show that we should never be afraid to try new things and to take advantage of the diverse course offerings at Muskingum. You never know what will become your passion.”

Brown cites several faculty members, including the late Russell Brown, as catalysts in helping him to discover his passion, and challenging him to study abroad and enhance his Spanish language skills.

Following graduation, Brown lived and worked in Belo Horizonte, Brazil as an English teacher and, later, a Pedagogical Coordinator who edited language books, hired and trained teachers, and improved the school’s curriculum.

After two years in Brazil, Brown returned to the U.S. and attended the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, where he earned his Master of International Development. The program gave him opportunities to put his education to practical use, as he worked hands-on with a small charity called Purposeful Penny. Brown also completed a capstone project in Chiapas, Mexico, working with local nonprofits and community leaders to improve food security for rural communities.

Brown says he decided to attend graduate school because “I wanted to make the world a better place. I was, and still am, deeply interested in other cultures, particularly how current socioeconomic and political realities are connected to historical processes. I wanted to learn how to reduce inequities in society. I quickly learned that ‘making a difference’ is a lot harder than we think, and in some cases, can result in harm to individuals, families, and communities. I have learned to be a much better listener over time, and everything starts with giving a voice to whomever we decide to serve.”

Following graduate school, Brown worked at Head Start for three years as a Case Manager. He then worked at The Ohio State University as a Program Manager. Earlier this year, he was hired as the Executive Director of Montaña de Luz, an orphanage and transition home for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Honduras. Brown says, “Montaña de Luz offers comprehensive services to our children, meeting their educational, medical, emotional, and spiritual needs. As the children get older, we prepare them for adulthood through our Casa Luz transition program.”

Brown appreciates the “culture of learning that is promoted every day at Muskingum.” He says he chose Muskingum because “It was the only school where students held the door open for you and professors treated you as an equal. It felt like a family then and it still feels like one” – his youngest sister Olivia is a recent graduate as well. Brown adds, “I made lifelong friendships and will forever cherish my time at Muskingum.”

Brown advises students who are looking toward the future to understand that “You will not find your dream job straight out of college. Make the most out of every experience and realize that progress takes time. Moreover, progress, whether it be in your career or in life, is not always linear. Just know that if you stick to your core value set and you dedicate yourself every day, the right paths will open up for you. Also don't be afraid to jump into a new experience, even if you are afraid to fail. If you never make a mistake, you will never know more than what you know today. When you look back, you will no longer see failure, but rather growth and progress.”

For more information about Morgan's work at Montaña de Luz, check out the organization on social media. Facebook: Montana de Luz; Twitter: @montanadeluz, Instagram: Mountain_of_light;