Tonya Faye Sanchez

ScM in Behavioral & Social Health Sciences ’21


Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Major: Liberal Studies, Minor: Psychology

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
Primarily, I chose Brown because the staff and faculty at the School of Public Health made me feel valued for my unique background, interests, and skill set. My background as a non-traditional first-generation student were upheld as assets, and as a McNair Scholar, I valued and recognized this distinction at once. I was initially drawn to the department due to its affiliation with the Mindfulness Center, as the research areas and philosophy align with my research aspirations. Once I came to Providence, I loved the city so much that I knew I wanted to be here!

What makes Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
The most important difference about Brown and the School of Public Health, for me, is the degree of personal attention and customization afforded to students. This program has both supported and empowered me in the creation of my degree path and goals. You get to "choose your own adventure" at Brown.

What do you enjoy most about your program?
The professors and classes are amazing. I always feel challenged enough that I can feel myself grow as a researcher. It's exciting and inspiring, and I feel so much more capable than when I started a year ago. Plus, my fellow classmates are all incredibly interested, curious, passionate, and accessible. The sense of community here is real!

What is your academic area of interest and why?
I chose Behavioral and Social Sciences because it nicely dovetails public health theory, methods, and interventions with other disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, and neuroscience. This confluence of fields engenders both a pragmatic and mechanistic understanding of public health problems.

What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
I plan to continue on to a PhD, which is part of why I chose the Master of Science (ScM) in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences. 

Why Providence?
I'm from Florida, and I absolutely fell in love with Providence when I came here. There is a nice "small town" feeling here without feeling too remote. You can get to Boston or New York in just a short train ride. Providence is amazing for biking and walking everywhere, in fact, I sold my car when I moved here! College Hill, Fox Point, Downcity, and Wayland Square are amazing. There are tons of great shops and lots of great things to do. The old buildings and waterfront are so nice. Not to mention, you have your choice of beaches nearby! Oh, and seafood.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
What do you feel most passionately called to explore, and why? What excites you? Come and talk to us about those things! That's what lights people up around here. Be authentic and sincere. Speak to your fears and challenges. Tell us what you need to be your best. This is not an elitist environment in the slightest. People here love to be supportive and welcoming!