"Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances."
Brittany has a strong and warm presence. She is an absolute pleasure to be around. Her smile is contagious. Being a first-generation college student, and soon to be first-generation graduate, has greatly influenced Brittany’s undergraduate career. She is a double major in Psychology and Women’s Studies, with a minor in Africana and African American Studies.
As she reflects on her time here at UNH, she realizes she was always a huge feminist and women’s rights activist but she didn’t have the language for these feelings until she took an Intro to Women’s Studies course. That Intro class led her to her major and helped to shape the rest of her academic career. It was during a Race Matters class that guest speakers, Dr. Reginald Wilburn and others, inspired this already busy student to take on a minor in Africana and African American Studies.
Dr. Reginald Wilburn was a motivational force for Brittany. She noticed early on he was a professor she wanted to have in her corner. In her sophomore year she took two classes with Dr. Wilburn. He helped her improve her writing and critical thinking skills. Dr. Wilburn’s African American Women’s Literature classes have been the core of her inspiration for social justice and feminist advocacy. Nineteenth century African American women’s literature resonated with Brittany. For her authors such as Phillis Wheatley and Alice Walker are beautiful and inspiring. They showed the strength that women possess, the change they could create, and the strong legacy left behind; a legacy that Brittany continues every day.
Brittany took advantage of various opportunities outside of the classroom at UNH. Her freshmen year at University Day, the organization Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE) stood out to her and she joined. SAGE puts together events such as The Vagina Monologues and The Sex Fair which creates a forum for different organizations to come together to speak about sex and sexuality from different perspectives. Brittany became co-president of SAGE her second year at UNH. Through this new leadership role she experienced challenges and a great deal of growth. In planning events, such as those listed above, Brittany began to network with many different student organizations and administrative offices across campus.
Brittany has been a teacher’s assistant for three different classes at UNH. She has worked on two research projects for the Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) held in the spring. One research project gathered first year student experiences through the Connect Program, and the second project focused on gender neutral spaces across campus. Brittany was a participant with uLead (Learn.Experience.Apply.Demonstrate.) in January 2010. She worked for a brief period of time with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and often spends time in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA). She has volunteered her time for various planning committees, events on campus, and for the Seacoast Reads literacy program.
Brittany is someone who sees the value in activism, social justice and networking. She is an extremely active student on campus. Brittany was recently invited to attend a Leadership Conference through one of her many connections at UNH. The primary theme of the conference was to network and make the necessary connections to prosper in life. She met with local business owners whose message to young college students was to “Stay, Work and Play” in New Hampshire after graduation. She was also recently in attendance at the MLK Leadership Summit. There she helped facilitate discussions around community service and taking action.
Brittany became an intern for the Connect Program at UNH. She dove into the history of the program, and its marketing of the pre-orientation and retention of students. Working closely with Connect as an intern and as a Peer Mentor helped Brittany realize that she wanted to do the kind of face-to-face work with students that Stephanie Bramlett, the coordinator of Connect, gets to do every day. Stephanie is an inspiration because of the dedication she has for her students and for being a woman of color with a Ph.D. Brittany continues to work with the Connect Program as a peer mentor. She meets periodically with Connect students throughout the year to answer questions and provide guidance as they adjust to the UNH community.
Currently she is doing an internship through her major at the Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth. She is working with at-risk, low-income teenagers. In addition, she is involved in the Anti-Racism Team (ART) at UNH. ART is a new endeavor that Brittany has taken on with Sean McGhee of the OMSA and various students of color on campus. The group was founded through inspiration from the book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? ART is going to conduct hour long workshops with UNH faculty and departments around the issues of race and racism in the classroom.
Brittany’s long term goal is to get a Master’s degree in higher education and work in Student Affairs. She would like to focus her efforts within the area of the recruitment and retention of students of color. However, for the next year Brittany will focus on finding a job in the human services field to gain some experience outside of the classroom.