At the 259th opening call, Brown opens its doors to a new class


“Each of you has a unique personal story and a distinctive set of talents that brought you here,” Paxson said. “It is this diversity — the blending of stories, ideas and talents across multiple dimensions — that creates the richness of your learning experiences. But if students feel like they have to conform – that they can’t be themselves and express themselves fully – then that ability to learn from each other is wasted.

Don’t let that happen, she urged: “Share your experiences and opinions with confidence, even if others disagree. Listen and learn from others with humility and respect. Brown is a friendly community. We place great importance on treating others with dignity. Kindness doesn’t need and shouldn’t be at odds with being the vibrant, intellectually open campus we all benefit from.

Paxson also implored students to immerse themselves in research, as early and as often as possible.

“The teachers you’ll get to know in the weeks to come don’t just teach classes,” she said. “They write books that tell us about the most important issues of the day. They run scientific laboratories that advance medicine, public health and technology. They create art that helps us better understand ourselves and each other. As students, you have the opportunity and indeed are strongly encouraged to be full partners in this great knowledge-creation enterprise.

Teams of undergraduate students regularly work with faculty and graduate students in laboratories, archives, and in the field. Together, they use their research to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, from air pollution in Providence to the biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands to the links between underfunded public defense programs and high incarceration rates, she said.

At its 259th Opening Convocation, Brown hosted more than 1,700 freshmen.

Brown’s focus on research was one of the main factors that motivated Mia-Nathalie Pridgen, a freshman who helps lead the procession for the Class of 2026, to choose Brown. The University is one of the few schools to offer an undergraduate concentration in computational biology, Pridgen said, and Brown seemed like the perfect place to advance his love of biological sciences through an innovative, science-focused approach. technology.

Pridgen prepared for her college career earlier this summer as a participant in the Brown Center for Students of Color’s Third World Bridging Program as well as the Mosaic+ Bridging Program – a program for newly admitted students wishing to learn more about computing, with an emphasis on being a responsive and inclusive space for community members from racial or ethnic backgrounds that are historically underrepresented.

“These programs create a diverse group of students,” Pridgen said. “I’m so thrilled to be able to find and cultivate my community here at Brown and make lifelong friends.”

Pridgen has already seen the bonds that can be forged at Brown – her father is a former student of the Class of 1986 – and she said she looks forward to returning to College Hill on future start and reunion weekends. , where she and her dad will be on the same grad reunion schedule.

Whether in a lab or in the field, Paxson said the experiences of undergraduate students engaged in research “can be life-changing and often immerse students in the work they pursue throughout their lives.” .

This was certainly the case for Convocation keynote speaker Tejal Desai, the new dean of the School of Engineering who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at Brown in 1994. “With such broad interdisciplinary work – a hallmark of Brown’s education – it’s no surprise that she began her graduate journey right here in College Hill,” Paxson said of Desai.

Borders worth crossing

After joining Brown this semester from the University of California, San Francisco, Desai is an accomplished biomedical engineer with research spanning multiple disciplines, from materials engineering to cell biology, tissue engineering, and delivery systems. pharmacology to develop new therapeutic interventions against the disease.

In a speech titled, “Breaking Boundaries and Building Bridges Through Community and Collaboration,” Desai addressed the University’s newest class directly.

“You are a group that is about to redefine the boundaries of what we know and what we work on, to push the boundaries of the ideas that often divide us, and to break down the boundaries that limit our connection and our community” , she said.

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