Emily Brown '12
At Ithaca College, Emily Brown ’12 was encouraged by professors to pursue her interests wherever they may take her—which happened to be all over the world. From juvenile detention centers in New Zealand to a secondary school in Slovakia and from a nonprofit in Colorado to graduate school in London, Emily’s path to learn about youth justice and education has taken many exciting turns. Her cross-cultural journey began with a research project.
As part of a senior year Research Methods course, Emily compared the juvenile justice systems of the United States and New Zealand. She conducted interviews with parole officers, judges, and lawyers in the U.S. through connections made by her sociology professors—but that’s only half of the story.
Through IC’s study abroad program, Emily headed to New Zealand to gather the information that would constitute the other half of her paper.
“While I was doing interviews on New Zealand’s criminal justice system, I was in communication with my professor at IC. We’re now working on getting the paper I wrote published in a sociological journal.”
As graduation neared, Emily was accepted to the highly competitive Fulbright program and went to teach students at a bilingual school in Slovakia—an assignment that drew on her knowledge from her English and sociology coursework at IC.
“My professors gave me the opportunity to work closely with them on projects that were close to me. That experiential learning is what gave me the confidence to move to a country where I didn’t speak the language [and yet was able to] successfully communicate my thoughts and really make an impact on students’ lives.”
Upon returning to the United States, Emily committed to one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) at a literacy nonprofit in Denver, Colorado. Her focus at the nonprofit was on volunteer organizing and community engagement, seeking out people who were willing to donate their time to tutor over 500 students in basic reading skills.
“At Ithaca, I was part of Alternative Spring Break, and I went to an organization that provided after-school and homeschooling services. The VISTAs there made a world of difference to the kids in the program. I knew I wanted to do that.”
As her assignment drew to a close, Emily applied and was accepted to the London School of Economics and Political Science for a master’s degree in criminal justice policy. She credits IC’s liberal arts focus for helping her connect her interests in a logical way.
“I’m looking at policy work and policy analysis, things I’m really interested in. The liberal arts education I received at IC was perfect for me because I’m intrigued by so many things, and it allowed me to understand how things intersect.”