Crystal Owney is as interesting as the mineral, whose name she bears. And like it, cherished for centuries for it’s amazing geo-natural formations, it is the by-products and re-formations that make it valuable and precious, and sought after for its beauty.
Crystal Owney has been shaped and polished for greatness! She not only knows how to do the “Second Line”, she is a “Second Line” Honoree for 2010. We celebrate her accomplishments; we salute her future endeavors. For when the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s, May 2010 graduating class is told to move their tassels to the right, Crystal Owney will be among the new graduates in Business Finance. She will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She is the epitome of playing the cards you are given and learning how to win, regardless of the deck.
Born in Milwaukee, Crystal was not dealt the best hand of cards. She experienced the death of very close family members and was not given the typical childhood. Yet, somewhere, deep within the spirit of Crystal Owney was the desire to succeed, despite.
She attended Milwaukee School of the Arts where she majored in theatre. “Theater became a home away from home, I learned to escape my difficulties and woo the audience through my performances. It was a great opportunity to be someone else while bettering myself by dissecting the role, seeing life through his or her prism. I learned a lot about mothers through playing the lead part of Penny Sycamore in “You Can’t Take It With You” and Mother in “A Raisin in The Sun”, Crystal said. She also excelled academically. In her junior year there was a very special teacher that touched her heart, John Rodahl (Mr. Rodahl). “He knew of my academic capabilities and made sure I used every single one of them. I took all Advanced Placement classes and did very well in them. I was never intimidated by the other students, we were all capable of doing well, we just came from different backgrounds.”
Crystal is grateful for the many teachers, mentors, and family members who have been there to support her- Crystal exudes an attitude of gratitude. Yet, she also understands that it has taken hard work. “You know, every day we make choices. Life is always about the choices we make. One can get stuck in their circumstances and wallow, “woe is me” for a lifetime. Or, they can get up, ask what am I to learn from this and begin anew. These were my choices every day of my life.” She knew she had to be accountable for EVERY choice that she made. Crystal was taught by her Aunt Lisa that, “Choices we make in a split second can have lifelong consequences.” Therefore, she thinks everything through and makes sure that she’s willing to deal with the outcome.
Her mother passed when she was just beginning adolescence, the years when most teens need the most guidance and attention. Crystal thanked God for bringing her, her God Parents Roy and LaVerne Young. “They have been very inspirational in my spiritual guidance as well as everyday life. The Young’s are the true definition of Godparents. They stepped in when I had no place else to turn and showed me the everlasting love of God and Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Crystal spent her Fall 2008 semester in Auckland, New Zealand. She was awarded the chance to study abroad through her academic capabilities and through the assistance of Lad Lake, Inc. She studied at the Auckland University of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand, majoring in Business Finance. In New Zealand she indulged in the Maori culture, a culture she believes to be very unique.
Shortly after arriving back into the United States, Crystal joined UWM’s Anthropology department in the efforts to rebuild and restore New Orleans’ lower Ninth Ward, which continues to show the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, now five years hence. Her three-week internship was designed to help residents return after having been re-located. The internship required that she create spreadsheets and use GIS systems to help re locate the residents of the lower ninth ward and bring them home with federal assistance to rebuild and restore their homes. In New Orleans, Crystal attended many cultural events, interviewed victims of Hurricane Katrina, and experienced first-hand the Second Line. “I love the spirit of New Orleans, she exclaimed.”
Crystal Owney went on to demonstrate her leadership abilities. She has been an honor student and the recipient of many awards, including Community Brainstorming: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, 2009. In 2009 she was selected to attend the National McNair Research Conference to present her research on the “Recovery of banks post Hurricane Katrina, she also won a Ronald McNair Research Award in 2009, and the INROADS Intern Achievement Award 2007 to name a few.
It may seem like Crystal does not have any hobbies or past times but, she does. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with two of her aunts, Cynthia and Lisa. “They have been a big help in my personal growth, I can talk to them about anything.” She went on to call them the “Dancing Divas”. Through them she has learned everything from personal growth to stepping. “I am very lucky to have them as aunts.”
A goal setter and a futuristic planner, Crystal has already applied for graduate school, wanting to get her MBA (Masters in Business Administration), and for various jobs across the United States. “I want to concentrate on fiscal budgeting; in the future. I plan to run for an elected office, maybe Secretary of State or become the Speaker of the House.” She has a strong interest in politics and knows she can help put the country into great health and wealth.
Crystal Owney is our own! She has the magic, the mystery, and the radiance of crystal. In Swiss watches, crystals help to keep accurate time, in jewelry, crystal shines like diamonds, and both are geo-natural products that man can only embellish.
Crystal Owney enlightens each path she takes with her attitude of gratitude! She thanks the First Line, her Mother, who gave her a strong foundation that continues to strengthen her journey. She thanked Dr. Joan Prince (her “everything” mentor), Karen Messnick (professional mentor), Rose Perkins, the North Central Service Club, and Lad Lake. All who have helped mold her into the Crystal she is.
Crystal Owney, a “Second Line” star creating new horizons!