Inaugural Cohort of NextGen Scholars Graduate in May

Pioneering class of graduate biostatistics students reflect on their experiences at Brown University’s School of Public Health

The inaugural cohort of NextGen Scholars at the Brown University School of Public Health is achieving a significant milestone this year as they become the first graduates of one of the most innovative and inclusive programs in public health education nationwide.

Launched in 2022, the NextGen Scholars program creates opportunities for exceptional students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It is enabling a new generation of biostatisticians to use their expertise to drive innovation, advance equity and make a meaningful difference in public health research and practice. 

“To have the first class graduate is a significant milestone for the program,” said Jon Steingrimsson, director of the program and assistant professor of biostatistics at Brown. “Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed remarkable professional and personal growth among all the graduating NextGen scholars. They should be incredibly proud of their achievements, just as we are immensely proud to have them as alumni of the program.”

The NextGen Scholars echo Steingrimsson’s sentiments, highlighting the impact of this opportunity:

Destiny Rankins M.Sc. ’24

“As a member of the inaugural cohort of NextGen Scholars, I am profoundly grateful for the enriching experience I have had at Brown. Reflecting on my time here, I have appreciated learning and working with my fellow NextGen scholars and cohort members. I am thankful for the welcoming and nurturing environment that the Biostatistics department has offered me. From the administrative staff to the professors, everyone has been very supportive and always willing to help. I am also deeply thankful for my adviser, Dr. Stavroula Chrysanthopoulou for her guidance and patience. I have enjoyed the Health Equity Scholars Leadership sessions and engaging with MPH students across different concentrations. Through these sessions, I have learned about some of the different leadership styles and qualities that will be invaluable. As I prepare to graduate, I am excited to begin my career as a data scientist where I can leverage some of the skills and competencies I have learned in the biostatistics program. 

To the incoming MPH/M.Sc. students, I offer the following advice that has guided me throughout my time at Brown: embrace the power of collaboration and never hesitate to seek support when needed. The supportive community at Brown has been instrumental to me, and I encourage future students to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities available to them.”

Alitzel Serrano Laguna M.Sc. ’24

“Reflecting on my time at Brown, I find myself filled with gratitude for the transformative journey it has been. From the enriching academic experiences to the invaluable friendships forged, every moment has contributed to my growth. As I prepare to embark on the next chapter post-graduation into the industry, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. Equipped with the knowledge and skills gained throughout the biostatistics program, I am ready to make a meaningful impact in the field of public health.

To incoming students, my advice is to stay true to yourself while navigating such a renowned institution like Brown; embrace every opportunity to learn, grow through the challenges and never underestimate the power of collaboration.”

Victoria Grase M.Sc. ’24

“My time at Brown has been an extraordinary journey, filled with invaluable experiences that have shaped me both personally and professionally. As a NextGen Scholar and part of the inaugural cohort, stepping into this new environment brought a mix of excitement and apprehension. However, as I approach the finale of my Master’s degree journey, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities I've encountered. From immersive Health Equity Scholars leadership sessions to School of Public Health networking events, each moment has contributed to my growth and development. The challenging coursework has honed my analytical and critical thinking skills while fostering a deep sense of mindfulness.

Collaborating with fellow scholars and cohort members has been a privilege, providing a supportive community where I’ve thrived. I am particularly grateful for the support and encouragement from the faculty and administration in the Biostatistics department and the School of Public Health. Their guidance has been instrumental in my academic and personal success. 

As I transition into the professional world beyond academia, I am eager to share the support, dedication, and skills that I have cultivated during my time here at the School of Public Health. As I embark on my career as a data analyst in my home community, I am motivated to pay it forward by imparting the knowledge and resources I have gained to others. So to start with passing along information that I have learned, I want to leave incoming MPH/Sc.M. students with a piece of advice that has been invaluable to me: embrace every opportunity for learning and growth, but remember to nurture yourself along the way. Just as a flower requires nourishment to bloom, prioritize self-care and rest to fuel your journey of development and discovery in the evolving complexities of life.”