2022 Brown University School of Public Health Commencement Ceremony


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

Program of Graduates


Welcome & Introductions


Ronald E. Aubert Ph.D.

Interim Dean of the School of Public Health, Director of the Presidential Scholars Program, Visiting Professor of the Practice of Race and Ethnicity in America


Melissa A. Clark Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Education; Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Student Speakers

Neha Mukherjee

Neha Mukherjee AB ’22

Mukherjee focused her SPH research on health misinformation in the media, specifically surrounding news coverage of COVID-19, and has contributed to NBC News pandemic coverage. In addition to NBC, her work has been featured on CNN, SiriusXM, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Next year, Mukherjee will attend medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She hopes to continue working at the intersection of medicine and journalism to improve the accessibility of health information for all communities. 

Tiffany Thomas

Tiffany Thomas AB ’22

During her time at SPH Thomas worked toward expanding the accessibility and reach of public health education, creating an Introduction to Public Health curriculum for high-school students and teaching the curriculum at the Met High School in Providence. In addition to receiving the 2022 Undergraduate Public Health Award for Excellence in Honors Thesis, Thomas was also honored with a Swearer Center 2022 Engaged Scholarship Award. She is joining Capital One's strategy consulting team next year and hopes to continue leveraging her economics and public health training to make sustainable social and economic impacts in her communities. 

Krysta Pelowich

Krysta Pelowich MPH ’22

In the global health track of the MPH program Pelowich studied male perspectives on intimate partner violence in South Africa, and helped to conduct a couples-based randomized control trial based in Zambia working to reduce and prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. She is headed to California in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences at UCLA’s School of Public Health. Building on her MPH thesis, Krysta's goal is to create effective and sustainable interventions that reduce violence.

Holly Boyle

Holly Boyle Ph.D. ’22

Boyle, who previously earned an Sc.M. in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences at the School, focused her doctoral research on the predictors and consequences of alcohol and cannabis co-use among young adults. She hopes to continue this research to ultimately develop more effective prevention and intervention efforts that focus on both risky single and multi-substance use behavior among young adults. Boyle's training was supported by a two-year Ruth L. Kirchstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award through the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She will begin a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown this summer.

President’s Medal & Commencement Address


Christina Paxson Ph.D., P ’19

President, Brown University

The President’s Medal is the highest honor a Brown University president may bestow, honoring a person who has achieved distinction in a particular field, including education, scholarship, public service, the arts, or philanthropy.


John N. Nkengasong MSc, Ph.D.

Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Currently serving as the first director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Nkengasong is a leading virologist with nearly 30 years of public health experience. Prior to his appointment with Africa CDC, he was the Deputy Principal Director (acting) of the Centre for Global Health at the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and Associate Director of Laboratory Science and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch at the Division of Global HIV/AIDS and TB. Earlier in his career (1993 to 1995), Nkengasong worked as Chief of Virology Laboratory at the Collaborating Centre on HIV Diagnostics at the Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium and later joined US CDC in 1994 as Chief of the Virology Laboratory in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Earlier this year, the Director was appointed as one of the WHO Director-General’s Special Envoys on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response.

Nkengasong received a Master’s in tropical biomedical science at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and a doctorate in medical sciences (virology) from the University of Brussels, Belgium. Nkengasong has received numerous awards for his work including the Sheppard Award, the William Watson Medal of Excellence, the highest recognition awarded by CDC, and the 2020 Goalkeepers Global Goalkeeper Award. He is also recipient of the Knight of Honour Medal by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire, was knighted in 2017 as the Officer of Loin by the President of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, and Knighted in November 2018 by the government of Cameroon for his significant contributions to public health. Author of over 250 peer-review articles and several book chapters, Nkengasong serves on several international advisory boards including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative — CEPI and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), among others. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S MEDAL

Closing Remarks


Megan L. Ranney M.D. MPH ’10, RES ’08

Academic Dean, School of Public Health; Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health; Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice

Award Winners

Corporation Trustee


Joelle A. Murchison ’95

Joelle A. Murchison ’95 is principal and founder of ExecMommyGroup LLC, a diversity and inclusion strategic consulting practice. A founding member of Brown’s Inman Page Black Alumni Council, Murchison is adjunct professor of management at the UCONN School of Business and serves as Executive Director of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, as chair of the board of directors of RE-Center Race and Equity in Education, and is a member of the board of directors of College Possible.

More about Joelle Murchison


Note: This event is being photographed and video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes.