Sunil Tohan

Class of 2021

Brown has helped Sunil Tohan forge strong connections — with inspirational professors, the local community and the wider world.

 Sunil Tohan is quick to talk about his role models and mentors, including his academic advisor, Sarah Taylor; Alex Nading, a senior fellow for International and Public Affairs; and Professor Paul Armstrong, his first English literature professor.

“Brown has a unique campus culture and climate that I've found to be so supportive and positive,” he says.

In Dr. David Egilman’s lab, Sunil is researching public health crises created by large corporations that impact communities of color, low-income communities and other marginalized groups.

This experience, and Dr. Egilman’s guidance, have opened Sunil’s eyes to how public health coursework could translate to the real world. It’s these faculty advisors and mentors who have made Sunil’s time at Brown so meaningful.

Brown has a unique campus culture and climate that I've found to be so supportive and positive.

– Sunil Tohan

As a student advisor to first-year Brown students (called a “Meiklejohn’ in Brown-speak), he tries to do the same for new students. “It's so rewarding to forge real friendships with my first-year advisees, and be a person they rely on and turn to when they have questions or need support,” he says.

“The atmosphere of students taking responsibility for their education here is unique and unparalleled.”

Sunil also tutors adults with developmental disabilities and volunteers with an organization that serves youth experiencing homelessness.

“The street outreach and policy work I do through the Swearer Center Community Corps has real impact on the people of Providence, and I’ve made so many authentic, strong connections with community members,” he says. “The work I do has a direct connection to public health, and is so fulfilling for me. My coursework and community engagement go hand-in-hand at Brown.”

Sunil traveled to Ethiopia last summer to intern with a foundation supporting the country’s new federal nutrition public health program. The experience reshaped his understanding of the field of global health and widened his network of friends and mentors.

“The internship in Ethiopia was an incredible experience,” he says. “Prior to that, I thought a career in clinical medicine was the only viable route with a degree in public health, but in Ethiopia I learned how I could actually work in public health. In terms of work, I had the opportunity to meet the prime minister at a really crucial time in Ethiopia's political history.”

Everyone Sunil has connected with during his time at Brown has challenged him, supported him and expanded his worldview. “I feel especially grateful to be at Brown and have access to all of the opportunities that I do here. It’s been an amazing place to study.”