Brown Women's Network: Learning, Connecting, Belonging

Summer 2022 Newsletter

In this issue:

130 Years of Women at Brown | Reproductive health and wellness | Alumnae in the news | Student spotlight | Celebrating mentorship | Recent events | Summer reads | University resources

130 Years of Women at Brown: Looking back at a yearlong celebration

Image of four illustrated women with 130 Years of Women at Brown in an arch.

With a series of 20 special events during the 2021-22 academic year, the Brown Women’s Network honored the generations of Brunonian women who have been pioneers in their fields, inspired others, and made a difference in their communities and the world at large. A range of speakers reached more than 1,000 attendees across the globe through online and in-person programming. Learn more.

Gender equity and reproductive health and justice

In the wake of the landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there are a lot of questions about the future, things we can learn from the past, and avenues to explore what it will take to restore formerly constitutionally-protected rights. These resources from around campus can help as we process this current moment in U.S. history.

Brown women in the news

Hats off to these remarkable alumnae and faculty! The BWN salutes the following women for making headlines and creating positive change in their respective industries.

Bernice Forrest AM ’74 with family portrait

Bernice Forrest AM ’74 got to know her great-grandmother in an unexpected place: the archives of the John Hay Library. While browsing the Hay’s collections, Forrest stumbled upon a collection of hand-bound poems written by Olivia Ward Bush-Banks, a writer and historian who grew up in Providence in the late 19th century—and Forrest’s direct ancestor. Of mixed Black and Montaukett tribal descent, Bush-Banks’ meditations on justice for people of color resonated with Forrest’s own experience. Inspired and energized by the power of her great-grandmother’s work, Forrest began a passion project: an anthology of Bush-Banks’ poems. Her labor of love brought Bush-Banks to a wider audience and brought Forrest towards an academic focus in Indigenous ethnohistory.

“When I think of these women, Olivia and my mother, one word describes the both of them: pride, both in who they are and where they come from,” Forrest says. “A lot of pride, and a lot of love for the ancestors.” Read the full article in the Brown Alumni Magazine.

Professor Nadje Al-Ali

After the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, experts from the Watson Center at Brown weighed in on the international implications of the decision and how the U.S. compares to other nations regarding bodily autonomy. Professor Nadje Al-Ali’s “More Nuanced Discussions in the Middle East than in the U.S.” examines the role of the United States in the global conversation on women’s rights and freedoms while suggesting that an international perspective may provide insights into effective resistance strategies.

Megan Ranney MPH’10 RES’08

As an emergency physician, Megan Ranney MPH’10 RES’08 manages a great deal of stress on a regular basis. In a podcast conversation with “Her Story,” Dr. Ranney gives a practical take on the power of optimism and how to apply it in your life and work.

Friedman Award winner: Lauren Brown ’22

Susan Pilch Friedman ’77, P’08 Excellence Award in Women’s Leadership winner Lauren Brown ’22

The Susan Pilch Friedman ’77, P’08 Excellence Award in Women’s Leadership honors the strength, tenacity, and determination of women on campus. This year’s winner is Lauren Brown ’22. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Lauren got involved in entrepreneurship during the spring of her first year on campus. Shortly thereafter, she launched Figured, a venture that helps people with Afro-textured hair find personalized advice and product recommendations. She has led the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship’s Peer Entrepreneur in Residence cohort: a role that empowered her to make entrepreneurship more accessible to women on campus. During her senior year, Lauren organized a series of events for Black women to get involved in entrepreneurial programming, including initiatives like the Black Alumni Mentorship Drive that developed a new directory of Black alumni who are excited about mentoring Black students interested in entrepreneurship. Lauren constantly stresses the importance of inclusion in entrepreneurship and is excited to help members of the Brown community realize the full potential of their ideas. This spring, Lauren received her degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations and will soon start work in management consulting in Boston.

Celebrating new beginnings and mentorship

Collage of Commencement and Reunion images.

This year’s Reunion and Commencement Weekend was one for the books! Recent graduates, we welcome you to the alumnae family. Alumnae, we thank you for your continued Brunonian pride. As more new alumnae pass through the gates each year, we would like to continue forging connections so that students and young alumnae have the support they need for the future.

If you have an interest in mentorship, join the Brown Women's Launch Pad community! Over 90 percent of incoming Women's Launch Pad mentees for the upcoming academic year have indicated that they would like to connect with a mentor who shares one of their identities. This is especially true for alumnae identifying as LGBTQIA+, women of color, and women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), as well as women in healthcare and medicine. If you would like to join our Women’s Launch Pad community as a mentor or mentor resource, please complete this form to be included in our network.

Recent events and activities

The Brown Women’s Network has pivoted from regionally-based, in-person events to virtual ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of events and new virtual programming series have emerged, some of which are available below as recordings.

Summer reads

Settle into summer with nice weather and a good book! Here are a few recent books published by alumnae authors.

Summer reading book covers

University resources

Anti-Black Racism and Social Justice

  • Returning for a second year, Brown scholars shed light on the enduring effects of racism in America in the “Race &” panel discussion series hosted by the Office of the Provost and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Community, Belonging, and Support

  • The Brown Alumni Pride Association has a new name (formerly TBGALA) and new logo! The new name came about with a mind toward inclusion and future community expansion. BAPA celebrates and amplifies LGBTQIA+ alumni of all schools of Brown through advocacy, visibility, and community building and is committed to honoring and promoting the diversity and intersectionality of its members, current students, faculty, administration, and other alumni affinity groups.
  • The Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender maintains a list of useful resources and emergency contacts.
  • The Brown Alumni Association LinkedIn group is a great place for alumni to connect with each other and stay in touch with Brown. We encourage you to share photos, videos, and links with this community, and to participate via comments and discussion.
  • The Brown First-Generation Student & Alumni LinkedIn group serves as a networking and communication space for current first-gens at Brown as well as alumni.
  • The Brown Pre-Law & Legal Community LinkedIn group connects alumni, students, parents, and community members interested in career conversations and information sharing. This group was set up to provide information, support, and resources to undergraduates and alumni of the University at the intersection of legal-affiliated careers and educational pursuits in government, public policy, and international affairs.

Recent Graduates

The Women's Leadership Council Logo

The Brown Women’s Network is proudly sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Council.

The Brown Women’s Network is open to all members of the University community. Network activities focus on the experiences of those who identify as cis or trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in spaces that center on the experiences of women.

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