"Why ___?" is a standard question prospective students must answer over and over again as they enter the college application process. With the CommonApp making it much easier for students to apply to several colleges at once, it becomes more important to distinguish why a certain college is one's perfect fit. Working for Brown's Admissions Office as a digital media and marketing specialist, #WhyBrown is one of the campaigns I started and created content for. This campaign simply highlights the different ways that students answer the question, "Why Brown?"
To trace the stories of students, alum, and admissions officers about what they love most about Brown. Featuring these stories, the campaign accentuates the different ways that members of the Brown community answer this question. We hope that these stories can provide inspiration for prospective students in understanding how Brown is academically and socially unique compared to other US colleges.
I first had to gather campaign reaching out to students in the Brown community. Through email newsletters, social media posts, and canvassing techniques, I gathered a diverse pool of students to write about their experiences, which were then used as captions for each social media post. I then photographed each student in their favorite spots on campus. Content was distributed through Instagram, which was then shared through Facebook. The campaign received tons of traffic not only on the admissions social media platforms, but also the official University platforms as well.
Campaign can be found on:
Brown Undergraduate Admissions
Kylen Soriano ‘18
Biology, Physiology and Biotechnology Track
Despite the opportunities, connections, and accolades that come with an Ivy League education, I have always cherished my time at Brown because of the people whom I’ve surrounded myself with. Even with all the cutting edge research and world-class professors, my answer to #WhyBrown is still the special people who go here.
I believe that one of the most fundamental components of human interaction is the ability to empathize with one another. To be human, is to endure hardship. I have always connected best with people who know how to normalize and find beauty in their struggles—because that helps me in the endurance of my own struggles. That helps me realize my sense of purpose, and my rightful belonging at such a prestigious institution. All of Brown’s admissions officers must share this same belief, because Brown is full of these kinds of students.
Never have I been in a space with such a high concentration of talented, but humble people. I can laugh about failing an exam with future doctors, lawyers, and professors, who have just failed that same exam. I can spend 10 hours in lab, then go to the library to study for the MCAT, and then come home and worry about my thesis all with a sense of fulfillment because I have friends who have gone through the exact same thing. I enjoy my time here because I know that it’s okay to fail. I know it’s okay to fail because I’ve seen all of my best friends embrace and grow from their failures. There is a special kind of joy in knowing you’re not alone in a trial.
Because of these relationships that have been formed, I have no fear of “what if.” There is only “to do.” I have become a better version of myself in my three years and am better equipped to take advantage of all Brown has to offer, because there is empowerment in community. I’m forever thankful for these people, and that is 100% the reason I’m sure choosing Brown was the right choice.
Yvonne Diane ‘19
Public Policy and French Studies
"The first time I toured Brown, the tour guide talked about the rigor of courses but emphasized the wide-ranging resources available for students such as the Writing Center, the Brown Center for Students of Color, and CAPS to name a few. So far, during my time at Brown, I have explored topics that are out of my comfort zone, but have received the necessary support to achieve my academic goals. You truly appreciate the open curriculum when you have the freedom and resources to delve into different fields to create your own unique path. Whenever I tell people outside of Brown that I’m concentrating in Public Policy and French Studies, they typically struggle to find a connection, but Brown understands that I can study history, policies, and populations across majors, languages, and countries!
Additionally, community engagement and service have always been a critical part of my educational experience, and that was something I wasn’t willing to abandon. One thing that set Brown apart from other universities for me was the commitment to public service and how it manifests through an idiosyncratic collaborative structure among community members and students. The Swearer Center presents opportunities that allow me to merge my community engagement with my academic work and gain new perspectives outside the traditional classroom setting. During my first year at Brown, I spent my afternoons downtown coaching and tutoring high school policy debate, and my relationships with my students – most of whom came from immigrant families – piqued my interest in immigration and education policy.
Brown has allowed me to express myself in all aspects in this challenging but supportive environment, and the friends and mentors I have made make the journey transformative, enlightening, and fun! Next year, when I study abroad in France, I get to study the dichotomy between French and American immigration, social and education policies and how they shape student experience and academic achievement. I assume now my concentrations make more sense!"
William Sano '16
"The diversity of people, personalities, and passions within the Brown community inspires you to expand your sense of who you can become during your time here. Yes, the Open Curriculum invites academic exploration outside of your chosen concentration, but I found the opportunities for growth beyond Brown’s classrooms equally as meaningful to my Brown experience. I started college thinking that it would be a logical extension of high school. I thought I’d work in a biology lab, plant some trees, and maybe play on a soccer team. Although I could have, I did none of those things. Instead, I sang in an a cappella group, taught community yoga classes, and joined the Jewish fraternity. And I’m not even Jewish. Go figure.
I graduated from Brown with a degree in biology, just as I’d planned to from day one. But other than that, I'm not the 23-year-old my 18-year-old self thought I'd become - and I'm happier for it. The exceptional individuals and communities at Brown encouraged me to re-examine and refocus my interests: they pushed me to become a better version of myself. With the sheer number of exciting, accessible resources at Brown, it is hard to graduate as anything less.”
Hana Estice '19
Brown’s size makes it especially easy to build communities and find exciting opportunities. Every single day I am in awe of what I am able to do — from exploring New England beaches on class field trips to collaborating with friends on films that are driven by passion rather than a school assignment. One of my
"When I was looking at colleges, I knew exactly where I wanted to be without a clue of what I wanted to do. I wanted to live in a city, but I still wanted to feel like I was on a traditional college campus. Small schools felt suffocating, but navigating huge schools seemed intimidating. Brown fit this environmental niche while giving me the opportunity to explore with the Open Curriculum. The combination felt too good to be true.⠀favorite moments from my freshman year exemplifies this abundance of opportunity: I sat down to do work and opened my computer to an email about a talk by Bianca Giaever that was starting in 20 minutes. Bianca Giaever! She’s made some of my all-time favorite short films! Even though the website said it was full, I ran to the event and the organizers welcomed me in. As I listened to one of my favorite filmmakers speak, I thought about how special Brown must be for this to be able to happen.⠀
As a college student, there is always anxiety about what comes next and how you will make use of your degree. Of course, this is important to consider, but my favorite thing about Brown is that training for the ‘real world’ doesn’t have to be a priority. I chose to concentrate in Urban Studies because looking at the list of required classes made me excited in a way that I hadn’t found with other concentrations. Its interdisciplinary nature caters to my diverse interests, allowing me to study cities in so many different ways. What will I do with my degree? I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I do know that my academic path at Brown has already helped me learn to value interdisciplinary exploration and become a more inherently curious person."⠀⠀
Keri Brooks '18.5
Modern Culture and Media
"My parents mock that I chose Brown because of the lampposts (with the outlets in the bottom). It's true that I did, but to me it's more than that. I was fascinated with how Brown took something that's functional on its own, but added a little twist to it that makes it all the better. And this twist on the otherwise common is not limited to just the lampposts, but is reflected in every detail of Brown's identity. For one, the University listened to students' ideas and redesigned an already prolific and respected curriculum into an open curriculum that allows each individual to pave their unique path to a degree. Brown admits students who are already incredible academics, but introduces them to freedom of study and a myriad of personal benefits that can come from having a choice.
At first I was afraid of the freedom. Any taste of liberation is terrifying at the start, but essential to get to the next beginning. I started my time at Brown wanting to become a Biomedical Engineer, but fell in love with my Music and Arts classes. Exploring Art has always been something that I've engaged with, but I didn't see myself making it more than an extracurricular.
Next year I will graduate with a degree in Modern Culture and Media, with recognition that the privilege of choosing my education has likely positioned me in a direction that will be more fulfilling and true to my interests. When I applied to college, I thought that it was important to know exactly who I am and to be able to convey my "brand" to anyone who meets me. Going into my senior year, I have learned that you may never know completely who you are. To have a "brand" is to limit yourself, what you can accomplish, and the details of your character. Brown has added a twist to my perception of the world that has revealed doors I likely wouldn't have noticed three years ago. Most times it's the details that make all the difference."
Professor in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations
"One reason I like Brown, not the most important reason, is that I like being part of a University big enough to have respected scholars in many fields and first rate facilities. I like having a well-equipped design workshop available, where students build things on their own. I like Brown students, partly because so many want to build things or to plan new enterprises. Some of these ventures are companies—one sells mattresses--and some are social service project—one grows trees on barren soil in Kenya. I like being part of a university whose alumni are willing to advise such projects. I like teaching at a university where students come from everywhere—I learn something nearly every day from students. Perhaps the most important reason I like Brown is the spirit of the place, on the one hand, the energy and enthusiasm and, on the other hand, the respect and concern students have for each other. I must like Brown—I came in 1959 and am still here."
Professor Warshay' 87
Professor in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations
"In 1983, when I stepped foot onto the Brown campus as a first-year student, I didn't know the word entrepreneurship. It’s possible no one on campus at that time even knew how to define it, but Brown clearly had an entrepreneurial culture which drew me and so many of my peers to College Hill in the first place. With centuries of innovative research, teaching, and learning, Brown has always been fertile ground for entrepreneurial problem solving. .
I have Professor Hazeltine, featured above, to thank for nudging me toward my own entrepreneurial journey. First when I was a student, as he has done for thousands of others at Brown, he encouraged and supported me and a small startup group to translate a breakthrough technology into a venture that Apple acquired in the late 80s. Then in 2005, he encouraged and supported me again when he asked me to teach entrepreneurship at Brown. I didn't know that I could teach anything, and I didn't know that anyone could teach entrepreneurship. As Brown professors who take such a generous interest in their students often do, Barrett saw in me something that I'm not sure I had seen in myself - that I could be a good teacher, that I would love teaching, and that I could teach another generation of Brown students a structured process of entrepreneurship in Brown's interdisciplinary liberal arts tradition.”
Sarah Marion '19
Concentration: Narrative Medicine
"I love Brown because of the way it has inspired me. Sophomore year, while completing pre-medical requirements, I declared a concentration in biology. However, it was the supplemental humanities courses -- and perhaps the social justice discourse on campus -- that shifted my trajectory off the beaten path. In a hotel room in downtown Providence late last May, I began drafting a proposal for an independent concentration in Narrative Medicine. At 10:30 P.M the same evening, only hours after my mother picked up me from Grad Center B to head home from the summer, I extensively researched the field of Narrative Medicine, the independent concentration process at Brown, and relevant courses. I remember feeling overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of pursuing my academic passions in the most authentic sense of the word. Eight months later, I have checked off almost half of my proposed curriculum, from courses in Public Health to Religious Studies, and have designed a senior project highlighting the voices of patients in a book titled, “People with Parkinson’s.” I still find it hard to believe that an idea formulated in the Providence Hilton Gardens Hotel downtown is now becoming a reality in the form of an Ivy League Degree, and I could not be more thankful to attend and be inspired by Brown University."