In 2009, Rotary awarded its first three scholarships from the nascent RCM Scholarship Program. One of those awards went to Markesha Parker and on Saturday, December 13th, Markesha graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Over her career as an RCM Scholar, she has benefited from the mentorship of Kathleen O’Brien and Jackie Herd-Barber – and she gives special credit to RCM Scholarship committee chair Eric Isbister, who employed her at GenMet, coached her professionally, and gave her a glowing recommendation when it came time to apply for her first full-time job. In fact, Markesha already has a full-time job lined up at Actuant Corporation in their Engineering Management Development program.
Markesha is a South Division High School graduate raised by a single mom who had faced quite a few struggles, including a brief period of homelessness. In her original scholarship essay, Markesha told us she thought of her life as a math problem. Five and half years later, the sum of her experiences, challenges and triumphs has added up to a mature young woman poised for success –our very first RCM Scholar graduate.
While Markesha has faced stress and challenges the last five years, especially managing limited time and financial resources, but has applied her personal values of perseverance and positivity to overcome roadblocks and grow as a student and person. She has given back by mentoring other young women interested in STEM fields. In 2013 she was recognized by UW-Platteville with the Student Woman of the year award and Excellence in Leadership Award. This year she received the Alliant Energy Achievement Award and the UW-Platteville Chancellor's Medallion Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership by a senior.
We celebrated Markesha’s graduation at our holiday luncheon on December 16th. Markesha shared her journey and thanked the club for its support: “The Rotary Scholarship program has helped me to be a better example of how being raised in a difficult environment did not consume me nor corrupt me of accomplishing my goals. I hope I can serve as an example to show Rotarians that your financial and academic support is not in vain. Thank you for providing me with mentors and networks that have supported me up to this point and beyond. Thank you for all the unconditional love, continuing guidance, advice and support that you have given me throughout my personal and college experience.”
Markesha will always be part of our Rotary family – in fact, she would love to pass on what she has learned by eventually becoming a mentor to future RCM Scholars. The entire Rotary Club of Milwaukee salutes Markesha for her achievement!