Interim Graduate Student Coordinator


    Derrick Cheng


Hi everyone! My name is Derrick. I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, but have lived in 6 different cities over the past 25 years! I’m a 4th year medical student with a scholarly concentration in medical technology and  entrepreneurship, but when I was at Brown I concentrated in Neuroscience & Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations because I’m fascinated with design in the healthcare space. Next year, I will be pursuing a residency in Neurology. Some of my other interests include music composition, breakdancing/b-boying, and video games. At Brown, other than being a coach, I’m involved in volunteering, biomedical research, and several dance groups. My favorite spot in Providence is the East Bay Bike Path - you can bike all the way down to a cute coffee shop called Borealis down in Riverside. My favorite class at Brown was ENGN1010, where I learned how to take an idea for a project and bring it to life. My advising style tends to focus on helping my advisee discover what works best for them and doing whatever I can to support their goals (and playing devil’s advocate along the way). One piece of advice I would give to a student at Brown is to take a step out of your comfort zone – and to enjoy the experience. As a medical student and graduate, I can confidently tell you that you’ll never have the same freedom or opportunity to do that for the next 10 years, so make the most of it now!


Returning Coaches


    Kamren Gilbard​


I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. I am concentrating in Public Policy because its interdisciplinary nature allows me to think about social justice and policy issues through a variety of lenses. Some of my other interests include Russian language, drawing, and geeking out over podcasts. At Brown, other than being a coach, I help run Generation Citizen, lead youth advocacy projects with local middle/high schoolers, and volunteer. My favorite spot in Providence is Prospect Terrace Park (go at night so you can see the city lights!) My favorite class at Brown has been “Decolonizing African Education: Student Activism and Social Change, 1960s to Present” because it examined the colonial legacy of education and how students have tried to subvert that legacy and reclaim their education through curricular and structural reform. My advising style tends to focus on helping my advisee figure out methods of studying, time management, and reading/seminar prep that work best for them. The decision I made at Brown to try new things has shaped me significantly because it’s made me more well-rounded and adventurous. One piece of advice I would give to a Brown student is that not everyone is destined to have just one passion or profession. Give yourself the freedom to pursue your interests, because there could multiple paths in life that are equally fitting and fulfilling.



    Carol Shi


I grew up in Sonoma County, California. I'm concentrating in Public Health because issues of health and disease need to be addressed on a population level, and not just on an individual basis by doctors. Some of my other interests include traveling, cooking/baking, Korean language and culture, and my dog Chester, who I co-parent. At Brown, other than being a coach, I TA for the Intro to Public Health course and practice Taekwondo. My favorite spot in Providence is India Point Park. My favorite class at Brown has been Health Care in the US because it made me realize how important public health policies are in determining health outcomes. My advising style tends to focus on best practices for managing time efficiently and balancing academic work with other commitments. The decision I made at Brown to study abroad has shaped me significantly because I got to travel and experience different cultures. One piece of advice I would give to a Brown student is to try new activities all the time because you get to learn and meet new people!



    Kevin Chen


I am from San Marino, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. I study Public Health and Statistics because these two subjects are highly intertwined and interdisciplinary – perfect for my broad academic and professional interests. My hobbies include browsing Reddit, watching basketball, playing video games, reading, and eating sugary goods. At Brown, other than being a coach, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Critical Review (which you should always consult when you are shopping classes), a group tutor for chemistry and biology courses as well as a member of the program’s Tutor Advisory Board, a Meiklejohn Peer Advisor, and a committee chair for the annual Brown University Simulation of the United Nations (BUSUN). My favorite spot in Providence is India Point Park; the waterfront can be a nice place to walk around. My favorite class I have taken at Brown is Social Psychology (CLPS0700) because the class presents a lot of research that is relevant to our daily lives. My advising style focuses on a student’s individual needs, as I recognize that we all have different priorities, strengths, and weaknesses. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling coursework and finding success at Brown – we all have to find what “works” for us. The decision I made at Brown to serve as a Group Tutor has allowed me to not only better engage with the course material but also further develop my passion for teaching. One piece of advice I would give to Brown students is to keep an open mind and explore. Just because you have your heart set on studying one field does not necessarily mean you will not find another you find just as compelling.



    Olivia Cummings


Hi! My name is Olivia and I'm a senior from New York. I concentrate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology because I'm fascinated by the chemical bases that drive biological systems.  I am also involved in research at the Cardiovascular Research Center and am currently working on my senior thesis. Outside of academics, I'm a Meiklejohn and a Group Tutor for biology and chemistry courses. In my free time, I love to knit, go to the gym, binge Netflix, travel (I studied abroad in Spain last year), and learn new languages (currently working on French and Portuguese!).   I'm really looking forward to working with you to better your academic experience at Brown.



    Allison Meakem


I grew up in the Washington, DC area between the Pentagon and the CIA, but have my roots in northern Bavaria, Germany. I have spent significant time living, studying, and working in the US, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, and Greece. I'm concentrating in International Relations on the Security & Society track with a regional and linguistic focus on the Middle East and Arabic. I don't see "security" as being furthered through policies of militarization and bigotry as it is now, but through human understanding and cooperation -- a paradigm shift I hope to see see in my lifetime. Some of my interests include exercise and fitness (my competitive gymnastics days are long gone), lots of reading and writing, travel, learning languages, and keeping up with Late Night comedians like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee. Reading the print edition of the newspaper daily (I love the Washington Post) is both a habit and hobby I developed at a young age, and one I continue to cherish in my unstructured time.  My favorite spot in Providence is the East Bay Bike Path (most of which is actually in East Providence and ensuing localities further south). Last school year, I logged almost 500 miles of running on its beautiful bayside trails. At Brown, I'm the Content Director of the Brown Political Review (BPR), for which I've also worked as a writer and editor. I do research in the Climate and Development Lab (CDL), run Model UN committees with BUSUN, and have been active with Ivy Film Festival (IFF) and ESOL in the past. My favorite class at Brown has been POLS 1500 -- The International Law and Politics of Human Rights -- because it taught me to question everything and problematize even the most basic norms characterizing our society. My advising style tends to focus on organization, healthy habits, time management, and basic pen and paper hacks. I place a premium on sleep and balance! The decision I made at Brown to go off meal plan shaped me significantly (no joke -- I mean this seriously!), as it taught me financial independence and budgeting, saved me a ton of money, improved my healthy habits, and encouraged me to engage with and explore the Providence community by supporting local eateries and businesses -- experiences I wouldn't have had holed up in the Ratty. One piece of advice I would give to a Brown student is to learn as much from your peers as possible during your four years here. Our student body is fortunate enough to represent a huge diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and insights that can teach you just as much -- if not more -- than lectures, classes, and readings. Be a listener and challenge the worldview with which you arrived on College Hill.


2019-2020 Academic Coaching Team


    Alanna Brown


I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I concentrate in Literary Arts because I love to read and write poetry, but my other interests include medicine, biology, and yoga. Outside of being a coach, at Brown I work with the Love in Action tutoring program, Black Christian Ministries, and the Community Health Advocacy Program. My favorite spot in Providence is Sakura Restaurant on Wickenden Street. They have some of the best sushi I’ve ever had and I have many great memories there with my first year roommate. My favorite class so far has been my Poetry II workshop. My professor pushed me to create many pieces I am proud of, and I grew extremely close with my classmates by the end of the semester. My advising style is an exploration of different study methods suited to each advisee’s academic needs and goals. My decision to be unafraid and to try new things at Brown has shaped me most. I have been able to learn so much about myself and find opportunities I never would have before. My best advice for a new Brown student is to not compare yourself to others, but to be your best self!



    Cindy Won


I grew up in Dublin, California, which is located about an hour east of San Francisco. I concentrate in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, which I decided upon because of my interest in the molecular mechanisms behind disease. Outside of being a coach, at Brown I am involved in volunteering with Brown EMS and conducting research at the Center for AIDS Research. I am also a part of the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) and can be found rock climbing, running, or eating froyo. My favorite spot in Providence is Coffee Exchange on Wickenden. Their cold brew is worth the walk!  Because I can’t pick one, two of my favorite classes at Brown have been Intersectionality & Health Inequities and Chemical Biology. I enjoyed the small class sizes of both of these classes and the flexibility to ask critical questions in different fields. I particularly enjoyed learning about the social determinants that contribute to health disparities in the US. I also loved learning about how to use chemical tools to analytically understand biological questions. I focus on developing an individualized plan with my students, with a strong emphasis on achieving a do-able and realistic school-work-life balance. I also focus on prioritizing sleep hygiene and general wellbeing. A decision that has significantly shaped my experience at Brown has been becoming an EMT. I knew that I wanted to become one after high school and I prioritized getting trained the summer after freshman year. Little did I know that I would not only be challenged by new scenarios, but that I would also find a community in Brown EMS. One piece of advice that I would give is to explore outside of comfort zones, whether in academic, social, or extracurricular settings, while also enjoying the process. College is a unique and personal opportunity to grow, and the time flies by quickly.



    Cristian Maldonado Rodas


Hi! My name is Cristian Maldonado Rodas and I and from the Bay Area. I grew up in Marin County (specifically in San Rafael) and if you don’t know where that is, it’s across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I am currently majoring in Biology because I am fascinated by the processes that occur within our body, specifically the immune system, how it functions and its applications. In addition to my studies, I love to go fishing as it brings me awareness of my surroundings and myself. I love being off my phone and away from technology in stressful moments! Outside of being a coach, at Brown I participate in the Society of Hispanic Engineers and Mosaic+, volunteer at Clínica Ezperanza, conduct orthopedic research and work as a Brown Design Workshop Monitor.  My favorite spots in Providence are India Point Park and the garden next to Kassar House (Math Building).  My favorite class has been Development of Vaccines (BIOL 1600) because of its ability to effectively intertwine public health issues into the application of vaccines. My advising style would take a holistic approach, where I cater to the student’s needs, preferred learning style and well-being. My decisions to be more active within the Providence community have greatly shaped me in understanding the disparities in medical access for low-income, People of Color (across the U.S.), which further heightened my desire to become a medical professional and public health advocate. My advice to others is to not be discouraged when you don’t meet your expectations because it is always a work in progress and to learn what you truly love doing, so that you can prioritize those passions. 



    Elizabeth Dimen


Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am senior from Pasadena, CA (a suburb of LA) concentrating in Applied Math-Economics. However, I have also taken many courses in Engineering and CS as well. I have a passion for cooking (especially Filipino food!), and love animation and Murakami novels. Outside of coaching, I also work at the Haffenreffer museum and do research on long term economic growth in the Econ department. My favorite spot in providence is Tallulah’s Taqueria (get the lengua!) My favorite class has been APMA 1720 Monte Carlo Simulation, as it combined so many skills from previous classes to provide new tools for understanding data and making predictions. As an advisor, my style is flexible—I want to cater myself to the needs of my advisee and adjust my tips to what best suits their lifestyle and goals. One importation decision that shaped my life at Brown was switching out of a concentration I didn’t like, despite the fact that I felt it was “too late.” My advice for new Brown students is to always try to go to class. Even if you don’t feel like you’re getting very much out of it, retaining just 10% is better than 0%, and you never know what hints the professor might drop about the next midterm. 



    Jasmine Gibson


Hello! My name is Jasmine, and I am a junior from Georgia. I am concentrating in Public Health because I enjoy learning about the social determinants of health. Moreover, public health allows me to explore health from both a clinical and non-clinical perspective.  My favorite class at Brown has been Healthcare in the United States because it enabled me to learn more about the healthcare system in America and how it compares to other healthcare systems around the world. Outside of academics, I enjoy helping others. For that reason, I am involved with the Child Health Advocacy Program and the First-Generation Underrepresented in Medicine (FURM) Committee. Some of my other interests include traveling, watching sports, and trying new foods and restaurants. My favorite spot in Providence is a little coffee shop called “The Shop". My advising style is tailored to the student’s needs. I work to develop a plan that fits with the student’s current academic course load, extracurriculars, schedule, and social life.  The decision I made at Brown to get involved with volunteering organizations has shaped me significantly because I enjoy making a positive impact in other people's lives and giving back to my community. One piece of advice that I would give to a new Brown student is for the student not to be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants you to do well, and that is what we are here for!



    Katherine Jimenez


I'm Kat and I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. I'm a triple concentrator in Psychology, Sociology, and Literary Arts. I love to travel, eat great food, and spend time with my cat. Outside of being an academic coach, at Brown I am a student ambassador for Teach for America, a Peer Mental Health Advocate with Project LETs, and Greek Council Chair. My favorite spot in Providence is all of Thayer street! You never truly appreciate having such great restaurants so close to your home until you study abroad/go home for the summer. My favorite class at Brown, outside of my concentrations, has been The American Presidents and the Western Tradition with the Classics Department (I 100% recommend if you're interested in the deeper, historical meanings influencing our government, particularly the Executive Branch). As someone who deeply cares for the well-being of those around me, I am an advocate for guiding others in learning to self-empower. My advising style follows this belief: I hope to help my peers learn to navigate Brown's academic systems, but my ultimate goal is to self-empower my coachees to build up these skills themselves in order to succeed well beyond their time with me as their Coach. There have been many decisions at Brown that have shaped me as a scholar and as a human being, but the one decision that has shaped me most was my pursuit of my third concentration, Sociology. I had only planned on pursuing Psychology and Literary Arts, but Sociology really stole my heart. I have learned so much about my world and I have a new viewpoint from which to see, navigate, and criticize all aspects of the world today. As a first year, I really wish that someone had sat me down and told me to talk to my professors more. Professors are such underutilized resources for first and second-years. I feel as if it's only juniors and seniors who have finally grasped the importance of getting to know their professors and having honest conversations about how they are successfully and unsuccessfully learning in their courses. 



    Noshin Nuzhat


I was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My family and I moved to the U.S when I was 13 and I've lived in Phoenix, Arizona, ever since. I am an Sc.B candidate for Cognitive Neuroscience and am currently on the pre-med track. My other interests include painting, singing, and going out with friends. I am also interested in raising mental health awareness on campus and in the community. Outside of being a coach, at Brown, I am the President for the Students for Samaritans Club, VP of Peer Support at Brown Synapse, a volunteer at the Samaritans Crisis Hotline and an ER volunteer at Rhode Island Hospital. My favorite spot in Providence is Historic Benefit St. My favorite class at Brown has been Biochemistry. Although a notoriously difficult class, its focus on the inner chemical and molecular working of organisms highly fascinated me and increased my interest in the biological sciences. The course also challenged me and made me a better learner by forcing me to developed efficient studying techniques. My advising style involves working together as a team to create individualized tools and techniques that can help students to not only navigate but also thrive in their academic and non-academic life. I will mostly focus on time-management techniques and effective scheduling systems that can help students manage their academics and extracurriculars. I decided to join the Samaritans Crisis Hotline my freshman year at Brown and since then it has become my passion and has helped me become a better leader, effective communicator and a community liaison. My one piece of advice to a new Brown student would be to take advantage of resources and seek help from your Professors, TA's, peer support groups and friends. This may be daunting at first however, it will highly beneficial in the long run. 



    Tyco Mera Evans


I was born and raised in Northglenn, Colorado.  I am concentrating in Astrophysics.  Some of my interests include: staying active and healthy, experimenting with different styles of cooking, skateboarding, and watching anime.  Outside of being a coach, I am a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and a mentor for the New Scientist Peer Advising and Leadership program.  My favorite spot in Providence is Lincoln Woods State Park, which isn’t exactly in Providence but such a beautiful location to win the top spot.  Introduction to Cosmology has been my favorite class thus far because it introduced me to the wondrous mysteries the universe has to offer.  My advising style would be organized around understanding the whole situation and then developing a strategy to address it by using one’s own strengths.  My decision to study physics at Brown has shaped me significantly because I was originally going to concentrate in engineering but after shopping both introductory classes I realized that I have a deep desire to understand how the natural world works.  The best piece of advice that I could give to a new Brown student is to do the things that you love and are passionate about and to always chase happiness. 


    Pedro Freitas


My name is Pedro and I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am working towards a Concurrent Masters in Computer Science and a double major in Economics and Statistics. On campus, I have been heavily involved with TAing for both Economics and Computer Science. In the past, I have also done research, group tutoring, BUDS, and Alumni Relations. In my free time, I really enjoy swimming and yoga. You can always find me at East Side Pockets.