In this interview, Morayo Akande, Brown University class of 2016, begins by discussing her path to Brown, and the pressure she felt from her parents to attend an Ivy League institution. She recalls being especially impressed by the warmth of the campus during her visit in high school and narrates her correspondence with the Brown Track and Field team that recruited her. She then goes on to talk about her first memory at Brown, as well as her experience directing The Who’s Tommy. Committed to questions and problems of mental health on campus, Akande talks about the value and concerns she has with services provided on campus, and how that related to her decision both to pursue a concentration in Public Health, as well as her involvement in Brown Opera Productions. Akande also describes the consequences of suffering a serious concussion in her undergraduate years that impacted her own mental health. During this same period, Akande recalls struggling with the long-term effects of trauma she suffered during high school when her father started travelling back to his native country, Nigeria, leaving her to live alone. Akande discusses the difficulty of living nearly completely independently as a teen, struggling with housing and food instability. The interview ends with Akande describing her professional life after graduating from Brown, her intentions to join the Peace Corps and that organization’s refusal to allow applicants who have received mental health treatment to serve, and how she came to her position as a project coordinator for the Brown School of Public Health.
Alumnae Hall, Brown University