Brown Women's Network: Learning, Connecting, Belonging

Winter 2022 Newsletter

In this issue:

The state of American democracy | Alumnae in the news | Reproductive health: Doulas@Brown | Student spotlight | Women’s Launch Pad resources | Upcoming events and initiatives | Winter reads | University resources

The state of American democracy

Headshot of Professor Wendy Schiller.

In the lead-up to the midterm elections, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Political Science Wendy Schiller ADE'02 hon. provided a comprehensive view of American politics during a special virtual event for alumni that was co-sponsored by the Brown Women’s Network. Professor Schiller argued that current commentary about the decline of democracy, equality, and participation overlooks some of the significant ways American society has become more democratic, more inclusive, and more participatory in the past 30 years.
Watch the recording.

Alumnae on ballots across the country

The 2022 midterm elections brought out a record number of voters in the U.S. and more women than ever were inspired to run for office in state and local elections. Brown alumnae appeared on ballots across the country, including:

  • Leora Levy ’78 in the U.S. Senate race in Connecticut

  • Marie Hopkins ’07, P’24 in the Rhode Island General Assembly race

  • Jasmine Beach-Ferrara ’98 in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina

  • Kirsten Engel ’83 in the U.S. Congress race in Arizona

  • Maggie Hassan ’80, P’15 in her re-election campaign to the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire

  • Lauren Davis ’09 in her re-election campaign as state representative from Washington

Brown women in the news

Hats off to these remarkable alumnae! The Brown Women’s Network salutes the following women for creating positive change in their respective fields.

Monica Shah ’89 MD’94 speaking at podium.

Monica Shah ’89 MD’94 is using her Brown degrees in unexpected ways. The research leader in cardiology and gene therapy reflects on her family’s history of giving back and explores how Brown has been a foothold to grow her remarkable career.

Glory Lee ’24 talking to woman.

Glory Lee ’24 has launched an upcycled fashion collaboration with the University bookstore. Lee, a Brown-Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) dual degree student, is studying apparel design at RISD and economics at Brown. She’s the founder of Missing Button, a creative studio focused on upcycling unwanted Brown-branded apparel by transforming it into other high-quality products.

Headshot of Gabriela Álvarez-Martinez ’11

Chef Gabriela Álvarez-Martinez ’11 draws from her public health training and her Puerto Rican roots to create her unique, delicious cuisine. Álvarez-Martinez was determined to use her knowledge of food as medicine to support activist spaces. Liberation Cuisine, her catering enterprise, specifically targets social justice nonprofits and other community-based organizations in its clientele. Its mission is to highlight the health and nourishment inherent in Puerto Rican and other Caribbean cuisines. “As Latinx people, as Caribbean people, I get to feed you with something that nourishes your spirit.”

Reproductive health: A return to holistic birth work

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

In an effort to address reproductive health and reproductive justice needs, Leona Hariharan ’23 formed Doulas@Brown, a BIPOC-centered reproductive justice organization, following doula training from Mama Glow.

This new group is holding events on campus, including a recent one in October, that addressed questions like “What exactly is a doula?” and “How can the work of doulas contribute to positive health outcomes for birthing people?” They aim to illuminate the reproductive health crisis in the U.S. and the necessity of prioritizing doula work in Black and Brown communities. Doulas@Brown is training student doulas to meet the demand for holistic birth work in their communities nationwide and to support the collective effort to decrease adverse health outcomes among birthing people.

Student Spotlight: Olivia Pichardo ’26

Headshot of Olivia Pichardo ’26

Since she was five years old, Olivia Pichardo ’26 has known that baseball was going to be her future. Pichardo ignored pushes to switch to softball and instead stuck to the game she loves. And this fall, Pichardo became the first woman ever to appear on a Division I baseball roster, marking both a historic moment for women in sports and a personal milestone enabled by her commitment and determination.

Women’s Launch Pad mentoring program

A collage of photos from the WLC Launch Pad event.

The Women’s Launch Pad (WLP) pairs junior and senior class women with Brown alumnae in mentor/mentee relationships to help propel them into life beyond Brown. Learn more about the program and consider becoming a mentor for the next academic year.


How to optimize your finances with Madison Frye ’21 | Watch recording
WLP mentor and former WLP mentee Madison Frye joined the co-founder and CEO of fintech company Uprise for a discussion on optimizing your finances and finding money left on the table. Madison walked through her personal finance journey as an upperclassman at Brown, preparing for life as a new graduate, and how she optimized her finances leading up to Commencement.

Mentoring 101: Fireside chat with Geema Masson ’97 MD’02 and Gabriela Garcia ’23 MD’27 | Watch recording
Geema Masson and Gabby Garcia have started their second year together with the WLP program. During this conversation, they interviewed each other about the shared roles of mentor and mentee and discussed their tips for building a mentoring relationship.

Current events and activities

Upcoming events and initiatives:

  • Brown Alumni Career Connections: Navigating Change
    From layoffs in tech to anticipated challenges in the nonprofit sector to the continuing impact of the pandemic, the uncertainty of the job market means that many Brown alumni are facing career changes. The Office of Alumni Relations is launching a rapid-response program for Brown alumni who have been impacted or want to be prepared to navigate uncertainty. Interested? Join the new LinkedIn groups for Brown alumni in technology and in careers for the common good.

  • Discover Your Divine Gifts and Build a Career Rooted in Purpose
    December 21 | Register now

    In this fast-paced world, Odemi Pessu ’18, MPA ’20 encourages us to slow down and assess our skills and values by turning inward.

  • Industry Night: Careers in Social Justice
    February 6 | Register now

    Young alumnae and current students are invited to connect with alumnae who are established leaders in their fields. Breakout sessions following the panel discussion are the perfect opportunity to ask questions and continue the conversation.

  • Exploring Mental Health & Wellbeing: All Alumnae Community Building Event
    March 1 | Register now

    Join generations of Brunonian women for an alumnae panel discussion followed by interactive breakout sessions focused on the importance of your mental health and wellbeing.

  • The Brown Model: Pathways to Inclusion & Belonging national tour
    Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler, Brown’s vice president of institutional equity and diversity, is traveling to alumni clubs around the country to present the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and to acquaint the Brown community with everything happening on campus.

  • Brown Bears near you?
    Hoping to cheer on your favorite Brown women’s athletic team? Check the athletics calendar to see if a game is happening near you!

Recent Events:

  • Director of Brown’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America Tricia Rose AM’87 PhD’93, P’14 welcomed Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson to campus for a behind-the-scenes discussion about the making of his award-winning documentary that gives viewers a look at an epic event celebrating Black history, culture, and fashion.

  • At the most recent Industry Night event, current students and young alumnae joined an expert panel of Brunonian women to learn more about careers in journalism and publishing.

  • Catch up on other events from the Brown Women’s Network with our extensive library of recordings.

The grand opening of Stonewall House: Intersectional community space

Illustration of Stonewall House.

This fall, Brown’s LGBTQ Center celebrated the opening of its new home. Stonewall House is located right next to the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, and will allow the center to increase its academic and social offerings for the Brown community. “There is a lot of overlap between a lot of these groups,” said Sarah Doyle Center director Felicia Salinas-Moniz. “People (often) don’t fit into one category or feel like they belong in only one of these groups, and so I think this proximity is also super exciting.”

Winter reads

Snuggle up with a cozy blanket, hot cocoa, and a good book! Here’s a listing of some recent books by alumnae authors.

Winter reading book covers

University resources

Anti-Black Racism and Social Justice

Community, Belonging, and Support

Recent Graduates

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