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Alumni of the Month: Ocielia Sprowl

TC alumni, Ocielia Sprowl, knows first-hand how never giving up can lead to achieving your dreams. A Former Miss Black USA, National Speaker, and Author, Ocielia has over 15 years of compelling speaking, community outreach, and coaching experience. Not only does she inspire women and girls from all walks of life, but she plants transformative seeds wherever she goes.

“I was born and raised in Texarkana, TX”, said Ocielia. “My father, William Gibson, passed away when I was only a child, and so my mother, Carolyn Gibson, raised me on her own.” Mrs. Gibson instilled in Ocielia a drive to work hard, stay diligent, and be confident.

“My mother is a huge inspiration to me. I am still trying to be the person she is. Even though she did not have the opportunity to receive a formal education, she embodies excellence.” As a first-generation college student, Ocielia knew graduating from college was a milestone she wanted to achieve.

“While attending Texas High School, I enrolled in numerous dual credit courses through Texarkana College and was able to transfer those credits to Texas Women’s University in Denton. I also took summer classes at TC during college and was able to save thousands of dollars.”

During her time at TWU, Ocielia pursued a 5-year bachelor’s degree in music education. “I received the ‘Texas Be On Time’ scholarship, which meant that to receive my full scholarship I had to graduate within 4-years from TWU. Because of the credits I received from Texarkana College, I was able to be a full year ahead in the program and graduate on time, receiving the full scholarship.”

Not only did Ocielia excel academically in college, she also launched her ministry. “I created ‘More Than a Pretty Face International’ college ministry and had the incredible opportunity to mentor young women. Being a mentor to girls is something I have always had a passion for, and when I was in college I decided to start and create an official ministry.”

In addition to launching More Than a Pretty Face, Ocielia participated in scholarship pageants and was crowned Miss Texarkana her senior year of college. She continued her involvement in pageants by participating in Miss Texas, and ultimately in 2011, Ocielia became the first woman from the state of Texas to be crowned Miss Black USA.

As Miss Black USA, Ocielia utilized her platform to be a spokesperson for issues disproportionately affecting teen girls and the African-American community. Her experience as Miss Black USA led her to author her first book, More Than Pretty, (published by LifeWay) which has been shared with girls around the world, helping them begin the process of purposeful living and confidence development.

As of 2021, Ocielia has been self-employed as a business owner, etiquette consultant, and career consultant. “More Than a Pretty Face is now my full-time job. I work with women to help them develop their confidence whether it is in a board room or a classroom.”

When reflecting on her journey to success, Ocielia credits her education to transforming her life. “Education was great for me. It polished me, grew my critical thinking skills, and helped me become a professional communicator. I highly encourage high school students to enroll in dual-credit courses and to go to college. It is going to give you an edge and help you differentiate yourself as a leader in this world.”

To learn more about Ocielia and her journey, visit

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