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Women's Leadership Council newsletter
SPRING 2016 Newsletter


Brown Women in Los Angeles
Monday, April 18 | 6:00 p.m. | Hosted by Natalie Fair ’86, P’15 and Donna Weiss ’89
Special reception and conversation connecting Brown Women and Politics with Guest Speaker Dr. Nancy Cohen ’85, author, historian, and leading national expert on women and American politics

125 Years of Women at Brown
The Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) and Brown University invite you to join us on May 5-6, 2017, for the “125 Years of Women at Brown” Conference, celebrating the accomplishments, contributions and history of Brown women. Please answer a few questions that will help us plan this two-day conference.

Brown Women in the News

MFA student Julia Atwood uses creativity to tell stories in new ways on stage.

Stephanie Morimoto ’99:
Proud to be part of #fiercewomenproject sharing leadership stories with young women

BrownConnect: Beyond the Classroom Challenge

The Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) has introduced a $1 million challenge called BrownConnect: Beyond the Classroom. If members of the Brown community pledge to create a total of 25 Brown Annual Fund BrownConnect Internship Funds by June 30, 2016, members of the WLC will contribute $1 million to Brown through the Annual Fund.

To date, 18 new BrownConnect Internship Funds have been secured!

Join the WLC on



WLC Member Spotlight: Sharon Curhan ’83, P’10

Sharon Curhan ’83 is an MD and clinical researcher at the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After taking a career “pause,” Sharon returned to school to pursue her dream of collaborating with her husband, Gary ’81, on research projects that they share a similar conviction for — chronic disease prevention with a focus on the prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus. As a member of the WLC and Women’s Launch Pad, Sharon has had the opportunity to mentor several Brown women and extend her wisdom and experiences of transitioning from Brown student to Brown alumna.

We thank you so much Sharon, for sharing your thoughtful and encouraging approach to achieving your goals.

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Thum

Jennifer is a fourth-year PhD candidate at the Joukowsky Institute and co-curator of an exhibit called “Uncovering Ancient Egypt: Ancient Crafts, Modern Technologies,” on view at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology through spring 2016. She has a master’s degree from University of Oxford, a B.A. from Columbia University’s Barnard College, and was an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Jennifer tells the Graduate School’s Beverly Larson why she studies rock inscriptions and about the challenges and joys of field research.

Advancing Scholarship and Teaching

They are scholars, educators and mentors. Recognized internationally for their discoveries, they also motivate countless students to think critically and pursue what inspires them. Professors at Brown are tireless leaders who maintain the University’s academic excellence, continually pushing the boundaries of research and teaching.

Professor Nitsan Chorev is one such individual. Her research may seem far-ranging—her work covers a broad spectrum, from the politics behind globalization to the history of the World Health Organization to East African pharmaceutical production. But for Chorev, there are connections to be found in her process: “I love learning new things. I am motivated by what I don’t know rather than by what I do know. Every project that I undertake leads me to the next burning question, and then I exhaust it and move on.”

Burwell Named AAAS Fellow

In recognition of her decades of work to understand the brain anatomy underlying the relationship between memory and context, Rebecca Burwell, Brown University professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. While behaviors may feel intuitive, the underlying anatomy that produces them must be deliberately studied to be understood. Burwell has been researching memory and context since she was a postdoc.


Moving the World Forward

Caitie Whelan ’07.5 is the Noter-in-Chief of The Lightning Notes, a “short daily post to help us move the world forward.” A former Senior Foreign Policy Advisor in Congress, Caitie felt that while this position offered her a great experience, it was time to make her wild idea of The Lightning Notes a reality. Always an advocate for social justice—she started a school with lower caste musicians in India—Caitie believes in moving the world forward in whatever way that we can. Caitie’s involvement with mentoring at Brown and The Lightning Notes are only a few of the ways that Caitie has moved the world forward.

Caitie, we thank you for your dedication to making the world a better place and for inspiring people to follow their dreams!

WLP Peer-to-Peer Mentee Interview: Bianca Duah ’16 and Dora Chu ’16

Women’s Launch Pad mentees Bianca Duah ’16 and Dora Chu ’16 first met during their Freshman year at Brown while living at Perkins. The two women quickly acclimated to their isolated environment and basked in their new campus community. After freshman year they parted ways and saw each other mostly in passing. Now as mentees in the WLP program Bianca and Dora were asked to work together to create a peer-to-peer mentee interview as a way to learn about each other but also to tell the story of a mentee.

Interested in Being a Women's Launch Pad Mentor?

Please submit your information to be considered. All mentors will be assigned based on the needs and interests of the mentee applicant pool.


Building the Ideal Environment for Faculty

Brown is known for its inquisitive students and a culture of collaboration. But neither of these elements would have flourished throughout the University’s history without the right faculty to support them. Emily Oster, one of the latest faculty additions to both the Economics Department and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, cites both as reasons for choosing Brown.

Thanks to the BrownTogether Campaign, the University has already made excellent progress on both fronts. As of February 1, Brown has raised funding for 35 new endowed professorships in areas of crucial importance, such as economics, environmental studies, and engineering.

Five Brown Faculty Win NSF CAREER Awards

The National Science Foundation has awarded five Brown University faculty members with Early Career Development (CAREER) awards, the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty nationwide. Assistant Professors Franklin Goldsmith, David Henann, Jeff Huang, Anastasios Matzavinos, and Andrew Peterson will each receive approximately $500,000 over five years to support research efforts as well as teaching and outreach activities.

“We are thrilled to have had such a great year with NSF CAREER proposals, a reflection of the talent and hard work of the applicants,” said David Savitz, vice president for research at Brown. “Not only will important research go forward as a result, but these help to launch the careers of several outstanding researchers on our faculty. We will do all we can to build on this success next year and support junior investigators.”

Read more about each faculty member’s research.