OWN
12/24/2013 08:30 am ET

From Homeless To Harvard (And Beyond): Khadijah Williams Starts New Life In NYC (VIDEO)

In 2009, Oprah met Khadijah Williams, a driven young woman who grew up in homeless shelters but never stopped believing in herself and the power of education. Though she went to 12 different schools in 12 years, she managed to graduate high school with honors and was accepted into Harvard University. Four years later, she graduated with a degree in sociology and even got a shout-out from Oprah during her 2013 commencement speech.

Williams -- who says she was in the bathroom when a friend came running in to tell her Oprah was talking about her on stage -- now has quite an impressive reference. "Just to have someone like Miss Winfrey acknowledge you and say, 'You did a great thing,' … it's not only a great confidence booster, but it's also something I can send to employers like, "Look! Oprah talked about me, here's my recommendation!'" Williams says.

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" recently caught up with Williams in New York City, where she landed a job and moved into her own apartment after graduation. "Right now I am a project manager at an education technology firm," she says. It's a very adult job, I have actual responsibilities – which is a little bit scary, but it's exciting."

"Just being able to have my own apartment and make adult decisions -- or try to, anyway -- is very empowering," Williams says. "And I absolutely want to give back. I will give back. And right now I'm just setting that foundation so I can do that."

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. Programming note: In 2014, "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs on a new day and time. Catch up with past "Oprah Show" guests, newsmakers and celebrities on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning Jan. 3.

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