June 23, 2011 | Posted in Alumni Spotlight, Chapter Founders | By

Carolyn Brown first found out about Nourish through a friend at the University of Michigan. “Nourish was in its first year at Michigan, so it was a great opportunity to get heavily involved as a freshman,” says Carolyn. “Since the group was small, I felt that my voice was heard and appreciated. I had equal say in the daily activities of ventures as well as project planning.”

When Carolyn transferred to Brown University the following year, she knew she wanted to continue working with Nourish. Specifically, she liked that Nourish’s development model is community-based and revolves around local people knowing what works best for them. Carolyn decided to apply to found a Nourish Chapter at Brown.

The biggest obstacle Carolyn encountered as she began her chapter was getting Nourish approved as a student group by the university. That year, Brown changed its policies to prohibit student groups who took money from the Brown community and invested it elsewhere. Carolyn met with several deans and the head of the Student Activities Office to counter this policy. Her perseverance paid off, and she convinced university officials to create a new student group category for service organizations that could raise money on campus but would not receive funding from Brown.

Another setback occurred for Carolyn during her chapter’s first year when their summer project partner chapter folded in the midst of trip preparations. The Brown chapter scrambled to find a new partner at the last minute and ended up having a very successful partnership with Cornell University in El Salvador.

Carolyn Brown in Honduras

After her first year as the Brown chapter leader, Carolyn also went on to serve as co-international projects director and treasurer.

“Nourish provided me the opportunity to understand what truly motivates me, which is collaborative service and development,” says Carolyn. “I’m pursuing a career in public health, so the fundamental lessons I’ve learned through both developing and implementing Nourish projects will be directly useful as I go on to conduct studies and interventions in the health sector later on.”

Carolyn highly encourages college students to get involved with Nourish International. “Nourish has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career, and the only way to truly benefit from all it has to offer is to totally immerse yourself in the cause and trust in the experience,” she says. “Not every aspect of Nourish’s work is going to be fun or perfect by any means, but if I hadn’t pushed through the challenges, I would not have had the chance to grow and benefit from this amazing organization and all the people involved both here and abroad.”

Carolyn is currently working for the Harvard School of Public Health on a research study in Tanzania, examining the impact of vitamin A supplementation on decreasing neonatal mortality and other health indicators. She hopes to return to work in Boston in the fall and will continue to support the Brown Nourish chapter from there.

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