Describe briefly what you do and how long have you been at Brown.
I’ve been at Brown for almost seven years now...which is wild to me. I started out working in BWell coordinating Sexual Assault Peer Education and developing programs like Masculinity 101 and Masculinity Peer Education. In my current role as Assistant Director for Community Dialogue and Campus Engagement, I get the opportunity to support students in cultivating meaningful and intentional community, grounded in empathy and self and collective care. Through the Community Dialogue Project, we offer cohort experiences, discussion spaces, facilitated dialogue and Transformative Justice processes.
What experience at Brown has been the most meaningful to you?
Getting to be a resource and a mentor to students is the most meaningful work I’ve gotten to do in my career. I think about the staff at Syracuse who supported me when I was in college and am deeply grateful to get to pay that forward. It means the world to me when I hear from one of my student staff that a space that we have co-created has helped them (or one of their peers) feel seen or heard or cared for in some way. I live for those moments when a student comes to me with an idea or a problem and I get to support them creating a program or meeting a need. The masculinity work, the Transformative Justice Initiative and CDP’s first year experience programs all grew out of moments like those. I feel like I spent a lot of my time before Brown working on issues that I cared about, but not necessarily in ways where I found deep meaning. To get to do both during my time here is an experience I really wouldn’t trade for anything.
Can you recommend a book that is important to you?
A book I would recommend is The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures. The book unpacks how hierarchy and conventional structures limit the ways we collaborate and how we are able to be together in community. It explores how traditional ways of engaging can restrict whose voices are heard and what perspectives are valued. Liberating Structures as a practice tries to provide space for everyone to contribute their ideas. It operates from the belief that the best idea might come from anywhere within an organization. It is something I turn to often when designing facilitations.
I also recently finished Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party and would highly recommend that one as well. The dominant narratives around the Black Panthers do an incredible disservice to their work and legacy. I appreciated being able to learn more about the level of active repression and state violence they faced, the profound risks that they were willing to take to push back against the state, how they worked to build coalitions and support and how they centered the needs of the communities they served in everything they did.
Name something about you most people don't know.
I started writing and performing spoken word poetry in 2020. I actually published my first collection of poems in April that was centered primarily on themes of mental illness and family trauma.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
Before I got my job with Brown, I was actively applying for social media manager positions with NBA teams. So, maybe that?