Nia Brown ‘20, a biology alum, learned early on in her academic career the importance of research. In her first year at Saint Rose, Brown expressed interest in undergraduate research, and partnered with her biology professor on a project. Fast forward to today, and Brown is currently working as a research fellow at The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB) in Washington D.C., helping to address a nationwide Black maternal-health crisis. In the future, Brown would like to continue this important work, tackling healthcare disparities — in a white coat.
We recently caught up with Brown and asked about her experience at Saint Rose. Here’s what she had to say:
What do you do at The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB)? The National Association to Advance Black Birth is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advocate for Black maternal-infant health through advocacy, research, educational programming, activism, and policy change. As a research fellow, I am responsible for providing relevant research on maternal and infant health policies, statistics, and new findings that can be applied to different projects. Through developing a maternal healthcare toolkit and a policy paper, and orchestrating a nationwide survey for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) birth workers, I have helped address the racial disparities surrounding Black maternal health and have advocated for health equity for all birthing people.
What is your favorite memory of Saint Rose? My favorite memory of Saint Rose was winning the regional title to advance to the NCAA Final Four tournament. After four long years, my team had finally reached our goal with our family, friends, and Saint Rose faculty there to support us. The rigorous preseasons, long training sessions, and the many sacrifices made along the way made this moment feel ten times better. Having the opportunity to represent Saint Rose, the East region, and my family at the national level is a feeling that is unmatched.
What have you learned through the pandemic? Through the pandemic, I have learned the importance of having a support system. Once the pandemic hit, and I could no longer be physically present in my friends’ and loved ones’ lives, I quickly learned just how important those small, daily, in-person interactions were. As a result, I realized just how important staying connected is and the benefits I receive from having a support system always there for me when things got rough.
What was the best class you took at Saint Rose, and why? The best class I took at Saint Rose was a medical sociology class. I found sociology to be interesting, and as an aspiring physician, I quickly became invested in the idea of exploring health through a new lens. This class exposed me to the Black maternal health crisis, a major public health issue that has been plaguing the nation for decades. As a result, I became consumed in wanting to produce effective solutions to address and advocate for people and communities that have been disproportionately affected by health disparities. This class is also the reason why I chose to do my fellowship at the National Association to Advance Black Birth.
What are your future plans? I plan to attend medical school to earn my medical degree as well as a master’s in public health. I really want to use both degrees in conjunction to alleviate the nation’s most critical public health issues at a community level.
What are your career or grad school prospects? I’ve got quite a bit of schooling left before considering career options, but in the meantime, I am hoping to obtain my master’s of public health at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
What did Saint Rose teach you? Saint Rose has taught me the power of community and how important it is to be an active participant in your community. Through copious opportunities Saint Rose has offered me, I stand behind the idea that “from whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been fortunate enough to have walked away from Saint Rose more knowledgeable and equipped to be able to provide much more for the community I will one day impact. The great friends I’ve made and the people I’ve interacted with while at Saint Rose have helped me get to where I am today.
Who is your favorite professor, and why? The best professor is Dr. Rebecca Landsberg, associate professor of biology! Dr. Landsberg was my Bio 190 professor my first year, and I enjoyed how she interacted with the class. When I expressed my interest in research, I was invited to join her on her research project, where I began to understand and respect the impact of research. Dr. Landsberg has offered a tremendous amount of support to me throughout my time at Saint Rose, and even now, as I navigate post-grad life and apply to medical school.
Advice for incoming students: I would tell incoming students to take full advantage of the opportunities that are available at Saint Rose. If you have an interest, there is most likely a club, a group, or a professor who shares similar interests and passions as you. College is meant to not only accelerate your academic aspirations but your professional and personal development as well.
Look for more stories on our Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates in the upcoming Saint Rose magazine.