2022 Graduate Student Contribution to Community Life Award Recipients
Maggie Unverzagt Goddard
Proudly from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Maggie received her Ph.D. in American Studies. At the Cogut Institute, Maggie worked as a 21st-Century Ph.D. Proctor and coordinated Archival Aesthetics, a Mellon graduate workshop that allowed scholars across disciplines to collectively read and discuss each other’s work. She also created and facilitated a departmental writing group for Ph.D. students in American Studies to workshop
dissertation chapters and collaboratively organized the American Studies Graduate Student Conference. At the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Maggie created the rotating installation series Tiny Exhibits. She worked as a Research Associate on the digital humanities project Mapping Violence, directed by Dr. Monica Muñoz Martinez, to research cases of racial violence in Texas, and she created, researched, and wrote content for Rhode Tour, a statewide mobile historical app. Maggie also collaboratively managed the Royce Fellowship program at the Swearer Center to support a cohort of undergraduate students in community-engaged research. She mentored students in the Mellon Mays program by providing individual support and feedback along with organizing writing group sessions and collaboratively coordinating the Mellon Mays Northeast Regional Conference. Maggie also worked at the Writing Center and served on the College Curriculum Committee, Independent Concentration Committee, Graduate Student Council Finance Committee, Title IX Oversight, and Advisory Board, and the Redesigning Ability VII Task Force to integrate health equity as a core competency at the Alpert Medical School, where she also lectured on the history of gynecology. In her department, she served as a mentor, graduate representative, and departmental liaison at the Sheridan Center in addition to collaboratively developing departmental TA training and revising the TA handbook. She also volunteered with local organizations in Providence, including Doors Open RI, Women’s Health and Education Fund, and College Visions, and she received a Citizen Citation from the Mayor of Providence for her volunteer work at vaccine clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduation, Maggie will study Arabic at Middlebury before starting a postdoctoral fellowship.
N’Kosi hails from Neptune, New Jersey, and earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Africana Studies. As one who aspires to effect positive institutional change for Brown University and the Providence community at large, Dr. Oates strives to be a diligent mentor and relentless advocate. Since his first semester at Brown, Oates has served as a co-coordinator for the Brown Soul Food Discussion Group, which is an informal discussion group for Black-identified undergraduate students housed through the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life.
In the Graduate School, he was selected as a Graduate Community Fellow, which allowed him to facilitate campus-wide discussions around the intersection of race and politics. Dr. Oates has been fortunate to be in conversations with senior administrators centered on institutional matters and social change on campus. He has served on search committees for positions in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the Chaplains and Religious Life. In Fall 2020, Oates served as a graduate student representative on the Diversity, Equity, and Student Support Subcommittee for the Healthy Fall Start 2020. This committee developed principles of equity and inclusion as the campus prepared for a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning. Additionally, he has served on several student advisory boards, including the Graduate School and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. In his final semester, he served as the inaugural graduate student facilitator for the Student Advisory Board for the Brown Center for Students of Color, giving him the opportunity to both lead and mentor student leaders.
Oates’ commitment to improving community wellbeing is also shaped by his relationship with the City of Providence. Since 2017, he has been an active resident in the community; most notably, he has volunteered as a poll worker for the City of Providence. As such, his professional pursuits guide him towards public media and curatorial affairs, where he can be a cultural advocate, distinguished voice, and community leader.
Alastair is from Montgomery, Minnesota, and received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience. During his career as a graduate student at Brown, he worked in Alex Jaworski’s lab investigating the mechanisms underlying nervous system wiring. In his lab and neuroscience graduate program, he mentored eight undergraduate students, organized two neuroscience retreats, served on his program’s admissions committee and as his program’s graduate student representative, and was a primary instructor for the Introduction to Neuroscience course over the summer of 2020. Alastair was also dedicated to community outreach, coordinating classroom visits to teach primary education students about brain science, chairing the Brown Brain Fair organizing committee, and serving on the Brain Week RI executive committee. Alastair was also extensively involved in advocating for graduate students across the university, serving on 15 distinct committees or councils, including the Graduate Council, Code of Student Conduct Review Committee, Brown University Community Council, New Alumni Trustee Candidate Advisory Committee, Resuming Research Continuity Committee, and the Committee on Promoting Financial Health and Sustainability. He also dedicated four years to serving on the Graduate Student Council (GSC), two years as the chair of nominations followed by two years as the president. As president, Alastair was the primary liaison between graduate students and the University administration, successfully advocating for modifications to graduate student leave policies and grievance procedures as well as for increased graduate student housing and a graduate center. Alastair also instituted the GSC Distinguished Speaker Series and the Research in Medicine Flashtalks. Most notably, he initiated and helped to create the Graduate Student Strategic Initiative document to codify the advocacy needs of all graduate students at Brown. Alastair also enjoyed the opportunities to participate in the Brown Executive Scholars Training program, all three certificate programs through the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows program. After graduation, Alastair will join Connie Cepko’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow to research retinal development at Harvard Medical School.