While serving as a Community Development Intern for the Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Brandie has been involved in many large-scale projects. These projects include the Trans Day of Remembrance activities and vigil, Bias Incident Response Team restructuring, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week activities and promotion, and coordination of Black History Month activities. Brandie is a class officer and also a member of the following equity and social justice focused student organizations: SAUR (Student Advocates for Universal Respect), Plexus, and PRISM. In their various roles, Brandie has been instrumental in addressing inequities on campus through developing programming solutions and strategies for addressing instances of discrimination against the queer community and heterosexism. Brandie leads by example. Their passion for serving and celebrating members of underserved and underrepresented communities shines clearly through their very being. Brandie is inquisitive, asking critical and reflective questions, and is sincerely committed to doing the work to change the lives of those who need special care. As a pre-med student with an emphasis on public health advocacy, we have no doubt in their potential to be a transformative public health leader and make valuable contributions to the 2022 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.
I first observed the magnitude of pervasive health disparities when I became certified as an EMT in high school. Three years later, I’ve seen every kind of systemic discrimination bring patients into the back of my ambulance. I quickly recognized that not all illness is rooted in pathophysiology, but some incurable diseases are a result of our unavoidable environments. Inspired by the biopsychosocial model, I’ve immersed myself in learning about communities and the unique lived experiences that inform their culture so that I can be a better advocate and healthcare provider. Through this experience I have gained insight into the resources with which communities can be empowered to address the day-to-day barriers, healthcare or otherwise, that plague their lives. One of these needs, for many communities, is addressing the existence of unconscious, or otherwise blatant, bias and discrimination. In my own Juniata campus community, I am committed to working for our EDI office as a vector of change to address systemic heterosexism and cissexism in residence halls, uplifting the experience of our transgender community via pronoun advocacy, awareness and education, and celebration of our queer community.