Alumni Spotlight: Mikita Browning
Mikita Browning graduated from UGA in 2000 with a B.S. in Biological Engineering with an Environmental emphasis. Mikita is the Consent Decree Program Director of the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.
Why did you choose to attend UGA?
I took a college tour my senior year of high school and visited several colleges along the East Coast. But when I visited UGA and saw North Campus, I fell in love. There were so many incentives to stay in-state. It wasn’t too far from home and we were the first class to receive the HOPE Scholarship. I grew up knowing several exceptionally smart and accomplished professionals, civic leaders, and teachers that also attended UGA, so that made a great impression on me. I’d heard so much about the University and its rich history and felt like that was something I wanted to be a part of. So after visiting the campus, learning about the curriculum and majors, and with it being close to home, I just thought it was a no-brainer for me to go to the University of Georgia.
What are your best UGA memories?
Freshman year in Brumby Hall, studying late at Jittery Joe’s, grabbing milkshakes at Hodgson’s Pharmacy, the downtown atmosphere, seeing Michael Stipe from R.E.M. around town… Athens is the quintessential college town. I have many wonderful memories of crossing paths with old classmates from elementary and middle school that I hadn’t seen in years who also chose to attend UGA. The environment was positive. Athens, GA was a great place to live for the years that I was there.
What activities were you involved in at UGA?
The Biological Engineering Club, UGA Habitat for Humanity, and the Athens-Clarke County Student Mentoring Program. After class, I tutored young students in their homework, reading, and whatever else they needed help with. I loved spend time giving back to the community in Athens while I was there. I really do feel that it’s important to give back to the community and younger generation.
What do you remember most about your time as an engineering student at UGA?
The hard classes! I remember studying for hours and hours for pop quizzes and exams. It was a very rigorous program. But we had great professors. The program was still somewhat small when I was there, so there was a wonderful sense of family. I met great friends that I still keep in contact with today. I think the program just prepared us very well for engineering early on. It’s a great program. Great students, great professors, and great curriculum. I’m grateful to have been educated through that program.
Who were some of your favorite engineering professors?
Dr. Sid Thompson, who was hilarious; Dr. Eiteman, who taught a lot of my biological engineering courses; Dr. Smith, who taught a lot of the environmental-related engineering courses; and Dr. Gattie, to whom I am so thankful for introducing me to AutoCAD—it served me well in my first job after school. They were all great. All were really passionate and really good at what they do. I’m thankful that they shared their knowledge with me and other students.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I work in municipal government with the City of Atlanta. I’m a native Atlantan, so I have a strong appreciation and love for the city. The city has an aging water/wastewater infrastructure and being an engineering manager/director with the city allows me to help them complete the necessary improvements, while improving water quality and complying with environmental regulations. It’s our responsibility to ensure that once wastewater makes its way to the city’s system, we ensure that it is properly conveyed and treated before it is discharged back to the Chattahoochee River.
I believe in public service and come from a family of public servants. I genuinely enjoy the sector of engineering that I’m involved in, coming up with sustainable solutions for the city, and ensuring that we have the infrastructure to sustain the development that’s going on here in Atlanta. The projects that I am involved in will sustain the city for many years to come. It’s a blessing to be a part of that and to give back to a city that has given so much to me over the years. And I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I hadn’t majored in engineering at the University of Georgia.
How has your UGA Engineering degree influenced your career?
It influenced my career tremendously. I entered the University thinking I was going to major in Biology/Pre-Med. Sophomore year, I realized everybody was majoring in Biology/Pre-med, so I wanted something that could set me aside if I decided to go to medical school. Then I discovered the University had a Biological Engineering degree. I already had an interest in engineering because my high school had an engineering college prep curriculum. I liked the problem solving and was good at math and science. It was the perfect fit for me. And it’s carried me forward. As fate would have it, I decided to pursue a career in environmental engineering in lieu of pursuing a career in medicine. I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t decided to study engineering at Georgia. It’s influenced my career a hundred times over and I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.