Academics and Research / DU Alumni / Magazine Feature

DU student honored by USA Today

Julie Markham, a recent University of Denver graduate, was honored as a member of the USA Today 2010 All-USA College Academic first team. 

Markham was featured prominently in the June 9 issue of the newspaper. This marks the sixth year DU students have been named to one of the USA Today’s All-USA College Academic teams.

The team honors full-time undergraduate students who excel in scholarship and community service. The team of the top-20 students was selected by a panel of judges from hundreds of students nominated by colleges and universities across the nation. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. The 20 first-team winners each receive a $2,500 cash award. Second- and third-team members also were selected, along with honorable mentions. 

A Littleton, Colo., native, Markham graduated June 4 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in real estate and finance, a minor in leadership studies, a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in real estate and construction management. She earned the degrees in just five years — as part of the undergraduate/graduate dual degree program at DU’s Daniels College of Business — with a 3.99 grade point average.

While at DU, she studied microfinance — small loans to the poor for income-generating activities — in a self-organized internship in Bangladesh at Grameen Bank under Muhammad Yunus, a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner. She wrote her thesis on microfinance as a means of poverty alleviation in southeast Asia.

She also analyzed microfinance in Cambodia and India and most recently consulted with local officials in Kenya who are developing an eco-friendly village designed to move slum-dwellers into sustainable, affordable housing.

“The best type of learning is experiential learning. I can read about poverty in books and come up with theoretical economic policies, but it takes the field exposure to truly comprehend how to create social change,” she says.

She co-founded Social Brink, an organization dedicated to helping students interested in microfinance and social entrepreneurship. The organization serves as an incubator for high impact social ventures by informing students and the community of various topics in the field of social entrepreneurship, inspiring young professionals to see themselves as current and future change agents, and initiating research and consulting opportunities.

Markham’s experience at DU has fueled her desire to work in the social enterprise sector with a socially-conscious business in microfinance.

“As a future businesswoman, I recognize that it is important for organizations to focus on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. I am concerned that there are more than four billion people in the world who are considered at the bottom of the pyramid because they have limited access to financial support in the hopes of rising out of poverty,” she says. “As I continue on with my life, I hope that everything I do will help me to serve as a ‘change-catalyst.’”

While at DU, Markham was a cheerleader and a member of the figure skating team and served on the All-Undergraduate Student Association Senate.

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