Fiat Vox: For Ph.D. student Kenly Brown, collecting data is about people

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February is Black History Month. To honor the month, every Monday we’ll hear from a different African American leader on campus. Today, we’re talking with graduate student Kenly Brown, who sees mentorship as an essential part of what it means to be a leader.  

Kenly Brown talking to students

Kenly Brown, a Ph.D. candidate in African American studies, says mentorship has been essential to her academic success. (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

When Kenly Brown collects data, she doesn’t think in numbers. She thinks in people. “For me, it’s like these are people’s lives,” she says. “There are consequences to these numbers.” 

As an undergraduate in Colorado, she was one of only a few African Americans on her campus. “A lot of times I felt isolated and alone in the classroom and not really understood.”

Now, as a Ph.D. candidate in African American studies at UC Berkeley, she’s made it her priority to be a mentor to students of color to teenage girls at a continuation school and to undergraduates at the Justice Interaction Lab at Berkeley.

Brown works with undergraduates Michael Mounthault and Mariah Thompson to prepare them for work at the Justice Interaction Lab. (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

Listen to how Brown came to realize her passion in mentorship.

Next week, we’ll hear from Sidalia Reel, the director of staff diversity initiatives in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.